Elephas antiquus molar tooth, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. This now extinct species was twice the size of a modern African elephant, a relative of the woolly mammoth.

Our stone age ancestors

Ancestors of modern humans share the land with large mammals which they learn to hunt for food.

Britain is still attached to the continent.
Flint hand axe, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Modern humans

Homo sapiens have dispersed into Europe from Africa. They live in large groups, and make increasingly sophisticated tools and weapons from wood and stone.
Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.

New Stone Age

People begin farming and producing pottery, and take part in rituals that signify complex spiritual beliefs.

Britain has become an island after millennia of rising sea levels.
Bronze Age axe head, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Bronze Age

Bronze and copper replace stone as the preferred material for making tools and weapons.

The adoption of agriculture becomes widespread.
Drawing of Iron Age grave at Aylesford, showing objects deliberately buried with human remains.

Iron Age

Oldbury camp is built by Celtic British tribes on a hill west of Ightham, in a strategic location overlooking routes through the Kentish Weald...
Roman samian ware cup, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Roman settlements

Roman settlers occupy areas along the River Darent, north of Sevenoaks. These include Lullingstone villa, and, later, a larger villa in Otford.
Christian symbol on wall fresco from Lullingstone villa

Christianity

One of Britain's earliest Christian chapels is built at Lullingstone Roman villa.

Battle for Kent

Otford is the scene of a battle between Offa, King of Mercia and Alric, King of Kent. Offa is victorious.
Kemsing well, © Jane Mucklow

Saint Edith

Saint Edith, daughter of King Edgar the Peaceful, is born in Kemsing.

The well in Kemsing is dedicated to her, as it was believed she gave the water healing properties.
King Canute penny, © The Royal Mint Museum

King Canute

After a failed Danish siege on London, a battle takes place in Otford between King Canute and English King Edmund Ironside...

Battle of Hastings

Saxon King Harold marches through Sevenoaks on the way to the Hastings, where he is killed in battle.

William the Conqueror then camps at Seal en route to London, and becomes the first Norman King of England.
Otford record in the Domesday book. Credit: Professor John Palmer, George Slater and opendomesday.org

Domesday book

The Domesday book is produced. It shows that Otford is the largest manor in the area, covering 20 square miles, encompassing modern Sevenoaks. With 159 households, it is in the largest 20% of settlements in the country.
Modern day ruins of the Norman castle

Eynsford Castle is built

Textus Roffensis c.1120. A page from this thousand-year-old document showing the entry for ‘Seouenaca’, the earliest record of a parish church at Sevenoaks. © Rochester Cathedral

Parish of Sevenoaks

The earliest record of St Nicholas Church is made in the Textus Roffensis, a list made for the Diocese of Rochester.
Illustration of the murder of Thomas Becket (1860s)

Saint Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral...
Engraving of Hever Castle (1700s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Hever Castle is built

Map drawn for Hasted’s History of Kent, 1778

Sevenoaks market

First mention of a market in Sevenoaks...

Hospital for travellers

The earliest record of a hospital in Sevenoaks.

St John the Baptist hospital was run by clergymen and located in what was then dense forest, home to wild boar and wolves.
Ightham Mote, attributed to Charles Landsdeer (1799-1879), © Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Ightham Mote manor house is built

Black Death

The plague reaches England, transmitted to people by fleas on rats.

This deadly outbreak reduces the population by around 40%, with major social and economic consequences. In Sevenoaks, rents from shops and stalls in the market falls by two-thirds, and local trade declines.

William Sevenoke

According to legend, an abandoned baby is found in Sevenoaks by local tradesman and landowner William Rumstead. He adopts the child and names him William Sevenoke.

Brewing

Court records show that 63 houses in Sevenoaks are brewing ale at this time.
Illustration of the old market house pre-1554

Market house

The first wooden market house is erected in Sevenoaks.
Casts from the seals of William Sevenoke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

From rags to riches

Former foundling child William Sevenoke becomes Mayor of London.

Romance writer Richard Johnson pays tribute to William Sevenoke in the book Nine Worthies of London.
Cast of Sevenoaks School seal, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Sevenoaks School

William Sevenoke dies, leaving an endowment for a grammar school for poor boys, and almshouses for the two men and women 'in greatest want'...
Jack Cade's Rabblement by Keeley Halswelle (1832-1891), © Bury Art Museum

Cade's rebels battle at Sevenoaks

Jack Cade's rebellion takes place in Kent, fuelled by anger against high taxes and prices...
Knole House in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Knole House

Archbishop Bourchier buys 100 acres of land for £266 to build Knole House, replacing an older manor house on the site.
William Caxton pub sign in Tenterden © Oast House Archive

Introduction of the printing press

William Caxton, born in the Weald of Kent, introduces the printing press to England.

Lullingstone Castle is built

Queen Anne Boleyn, British School (c.1535), © Dulwich Picture Gallery

Anne Boleyn

The Boleyn family move to Hever Castle, including the child Anne.
Engraving of Otford Palace, which fell to ruin during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Otford Palace

Otford Palace is built by Archbishop Warham. The grand Tudor brick building replaces an older manor on the site, to rival Cardinal Wolsey's Hampton Court.
Field of the Cloth of Gold by John Gilbert (1817-1897), © Parliamentary Art Collection

Henry VIII

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon camp at Otford with their army of 5,000 men on their way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a grand event held in northern France (at this time part of England) to strengthen the bond between King Henry and King Francis I of France.

Hops introduced to Kent

Around this time, hop plants start being grown for use in making beer.

It is believed that the first hop garden was set up near Canterbury.
Victorian embroidery commemorating John Frith, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

John Frith becomes a martyr

John Frith of Westerham becomes the first English martyr to be executed for publishing Reformation doctrines ...

Knole handed over to Henry VIII

Henry VIII takes Knole from Archbishop Cranmer.

Wyatt's rebels executed in Sevenoaks

Sir Thomas Wyatt leads a rebellion against Queen Mary I to prevent her marriage to Philip II of Spain, worried it will result in Spanish domination.

There is also concern at this time that England might revert to Catholicism...
Engraving of William Lambarde

Lambarde's history of Kent

William Lambarde publishes A Perambulation of the County of Kent, which includes the first historical writing about Sevenoaks.

The River Darent in literature

Edmund Spenser writes about the River Darent in his epic poem Faerie Queene, '… And the still Darent, in whose Waters clean, Ten thousand Fishes play, and deck his pleasant Stream.'

Poor Law

Relief for the poor, sick, orphaned and widowed becomes the responsibility of Sevenoaks parish.
Portrait engraving of Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Knole and the Sackvilles

Queen Elizabeth I dies and Knole House is left to her cousin, Thomas Sackville...
Tunbridge Wells in the time of Charles II, © Wellcome Collection

Curative wells discovered

Mineral water springs containing iron salts are discovered in the parish of Tonbridge...

John Morocco and Grace Robinson

The earliest record of Black people living in Sevenoaks. John Morocco and Grace Robinson are listed on the Knole inventory of house servants. John was a page and Grace was a laundress.
Portrait of John Donne at the age of 49, © Victoria and Albert Museum

John Donne

John Donne is appointed as the Rector of St Nicholas Church, though he is only recorded as preaching there on one occasion...
Chevening House by Bayne (1829)

Chevening House

The first Chevening House is built to a design by Inigo Jones, the founder of English classical architecture.

Postal service

The first public letter carrying service is established and Sevenoaks is one of the towns to benefit, with a staging post at the Bull Inn, Chipstead.

Knole House raided by Cromwell's troops

Sevenoaks stands out as a Royalist stronghold during the Civil Wars, being a town dominated by a few wealthy aristocrats.

In August, Knole House is raided by Oliver Cromwell's troops. Weapons and armour in the house are seized.

By winter, the Parliamentarian London military impose an armed block between Kentish Royalists and their comrades in the Midlands and the West.

Royalists and Parliamentarians battle in Sevenoaks

Royal supporters led by William Lone of Sevenoaks Park and Thomas Farnaby of Kippington fight Colonel Browne's soldiers at Hildenbrook. Browne is victorious.

After this event, Parliament sets up a local committee of men to look after the county of Kent.
Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Greene (c.1660), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Trade tokens

Merchants of Sevenoaks issue their own low value trade tokens because the government has failed to mint enough new coins. Unofficial currency like this is produced across the country.
Printing block used for H.L. Somers-Cocks and V.F. Boyson’s book, Edenbridge

Trade tokens suppressed by royal proclamation

Lady Margaret Boswell

Lady Margaret Boswell leaves money in her will for the education of the poorest 15 children of the parish, and to provide two scholarships of £12 per year to Jesus College, Cambridge.
Engraving of Dr Thomas Fuller (1739), © The Trustees of the British Museum

Dr Fuller at the Red House

The distinctive building on Sevenoaks High Street becomes the home...

Population

The population of Sevenoaks parish at this time is 1,572, as estimated by Gregory King.
Watercolour sketch of Shoreham mill before it was demolished in 1936, by Vincent New, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Shoreham paper mill

The first reference is made to a paper mill in Shoreham. The clean, hard water of the Darent chalk stream was...
Wildernesse House c. 1820, drawing by J.P. Neale

Wildernesse house is built

A storm hits Kent

A great storm hits the south of England on 26th November. Brenchley Church near Tonbridge loses its steeple and Penshurst Park loses over 500 trees.
Turnpike toll post, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Turnpike road

Turnpike built from Tonbridge to Sevenoaks. The introduction of turnpike roads indicates Parliament's increasing responsibility...
Souvenir programme for the bicenentary of the first cricket match on the Vine (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Cricket on the Vine

The first cricket match recorded in Sevenoaks takes place on the Vine...
Jos Burchetts add 80 stitches to the outer cover of a cricket ball at the Wisden Factory in Chiddingstone Causeway, 1970, © Eden Valley Museum Trust

Cricket ball manufacture

The craft of cricket ball making is established by the Duke Family in Penshurst. They become the first...
Painting of Lord Amherst in Montreal Park, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Jeffrey Amherst

Sir Jeffrey Amherst is recalled from war and rebuilds his family home in Sevenoaks, naming it Montreal House...
Peter Nouaille of Greatness in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Silk production

The Nouaille silk mills at Greatness are at peak production. 100 people are employed at the busy factory, including children.
18th century Pett cricket bat on loan from the Vine Cricket Club, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. It is the second oldest cricket bat on display in a museum.

Cricket bat production

John Frederick Sackville purchases 11 cricket bats from William Pett of Sevenoaks, one of the earliest known makers of cricket bats. Each costs two shillings and sixpence.

First ever cricket century scored

John Minshull, playing for Duke of Dorset's XI against Wrotham on 31 August at Sevenoaks Vine, scores the first known century in any form of cricket. A partial scorecard from the match records that Minshull made a score of 107. This is the first scorecard to record an innings on a stroke-by-stroke basis.
Kippington House, early 19th century

Kippington House

Sir Charles Farnaby, a descendant of Thomas Farnaby, builds Kippington House. It will later become home to Jane Austen's uncle Francis Motley Austen.
Engraving of Olaudah Equiano

Early abolitionists

A group of Evangelical activists known as the Teston circle begin campaigning to end the slave trade...
Portrait of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra, © National Portrait Gallery

Jane Austen

A 12 year old Jane Austen visits her great uncle Francis Austen who lives at the Red House on Sevenoaks high street...
'The Mail Coach in a Thunder Storm on Newmarket Heath' (1827), © Royal Mail Group Ltd, courtesy of The Postal Museum

Mail robbery

A letter from the Sevenoaks Postmaster dated 2nd July describes a 'dramatic event', when the mail coach is robbed on its way from London...

The first census

The first official census records the population of Sevenoaks as 2640.
Illustration of the Stanhope printing press

Stanhope's printing press invented at Chevening

Charles Mahon, 3rd Earl Stanhope, makes a significant breakthrough in printing...
Lady Boswell's School certificate (1920), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Lady Boswell's School

A new, purpose built, Lady Boswell's School opens in London Road.

Greatness silk mill closes down

The Harvest Moon by Samuel Palmer (1805–1881), © Yale Center for British Art

The Shoreham Ancients

Samuel Palmer invites fellow artists to stay at his cottage in Shoreham, including John Linnell and Edward Calvert. Inspired by the work of William Blake, also a guest at the cottage, they formed a group called The Ancients.
Beechmont House in the late 19th century

Beechmont House is built

The first fire engine

Sevenoaks Fire Engine Association is formed, paid for by local residents and operated by volunteers using a horse drawn fire engine.
Satirical print of Captain Swing (1930), © The Trustees of the British Museum

Swing Riots

Farm workers protest against mechanisation, harsh working conditions and low pay...

Sevenoaks Gas Works established

Reform Act

Sevenoaks town is lit up when news arrives of the passing of the Reform Act.

This parliamentary reform was a step toward democracy.

The fight against Slavery continues

Sevenoaks Anti-Slavery Society is formed, which pressures Parliament to end slavery in the Empire. The 1807 Act had prohibited slave trading, but not slave ownership...
George Cruikshank's illustration of 'Oliver asking for more' (1911)

Workhouses and the new Poor Law

Central government takes over management of poor relief from the parish...
Sevenoaks high street, early 1900s

Street lighting introduced

Sevenoaks gets its first street lighting when gas lanterns on metal standards are installed along the High Street.

Hartsland

Local builder Daniel Grover buys and begins to transform the Hartsland area into a working-class village.

It becomes the most densely inhabited area of Sevenoaks.

First local newspaper printed

The Sevenoaks Advertiser is the first newspaper published in the district, sold for a penny.
Hospital, formerly the workhouse (1990s)

New workhouse

A new workhouse is built in Sundridge, which will provide local poor relief for the next century.
Oil painting of Charles Hardinge, son of Henry Hardinge © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

The Hardinges and Colonial India

Former Sevenoaks School boy, Henry...
Two police officers on Sevenoaks High Street (late 1800s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Kent County Police Constabulary established

Portrait photograph of Charles Darwin

Darwin's Origin of Species

Charles Darwin publishes his breakthrough work on his theory of evolution, which he wrote at Down House, his home near Orpington.
Oil painting of Benjamin Harrison by C. Chitty (1921), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Neolithic site discovered

Benjamin Harrison and Flinders Petrie conduct analysis of the Coldrum Stones, a Neolithic site in Wrotham...
Portrait of Thomas Crampton

The railway comes to Sevenoaks

Responsible for the new, steam powered, Swanley to Bat and Ball line is the distinguished engineer Thomas Crampton.
Dunton Green brick and brick mould, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Brick making

Local brick making develops into a major industry, with demand for millions of bricks for railway construction and later for house building.

Telegraph communications introduced

The electric telegraph system comes to Sevenoaks, the first electrical telecommunications system.

Water supply

Excavation of Sevenoaks railway tunnel hits an underground stream, flooding the works. This event financially ruins the contractor, John Jay.

Eventually a shaft is sunk and pumps installed, taking the water from Oak Lane to a reservoir south of the town which becomes the water supply for the people of Sevenoaks.
Queen Victoria by Richard Hooke, © Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria visits Sevenoaks, arriving by train to Bat and Ball Station.
Sevenoaks railway tunnel by unknown artist

Sevenoaks railway tunnel

Sevenoaks railway tunnel is completed and becomes the fifth longest railway tunnel in the country...

A faster rail service

A new railway line is built, providing an alternative service into London from Sevenoaks Tubs Hill station.
One of Crawshay's monoliths in Bradbourne park (2020)

Francis Crawshay's druid monuments

The eccentric iron baron from South Wales moves to Bradbourne...

Swimming pool

The main mill pond at Greatness is turned into an open air swimming pool.
Edith Nesbit, portrait photograph from the book 'The Lives and Loves of Edith Nesbit'

The Railway Children

A teenage Edith Nesbit, author of 'The Railway Children', lives at Halstead Hall near Sevenoaks...
Scuppet used for moving hops in the oast house, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Hop picking and harvesting

Hop farming reaches its peak...
Portrait medallion of Emily Jackson, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Emily Jackson's hospital

Emily Jackson starts a hospital for the care of children with tubercular hip disease, working from her cottage on the Vine...

Sevenoaks Fair

Traditionally held annually for three days in October, the Sevenoaks Fair ends under the Fairs Act 1871. Working class people oppose the closure which had been pushed through by shopkeepers who saw it as unwelcome competition.
Lieutenant Cameron's Welcome Home by Charles West Cope (1877), © Shoreham Church. Cameron and Jacko can be seen in a carriage being pulled by the people of the village.

Verney Lovett Cameron returns from Africa

Verney Lovett Cameron returns home to Shoreham with his servant John Stanboul, known as 'Jacko', from central Africa...
Cobden Road School (c.1900)

School for the working classes

Cobden Road School is built for the children living in the Hartsland area, one of several Board Schools built in the area after the 1870 Education Act. These were the first state run schools.
Drawing of Lime Tree Walk workmen's cottages by Thomas Jackson

Lime Tree Walk

Architect Thomas Jackson and his father buy land in the town centre to build Lime Tree Walk, a small working class community of 24 cottages.
Salmon printers composing room (1899)

J. Salmon Printers

Salmon printers is established at 85 High Street in Sevenoaks by London bookseller Joseph Salmon...
Charles Essenhigh Corke's photography studio in Sevenoaks

Charles Essenhigh Corke

Sevenoaks painter and photographer Charles Essenhigh Corke establishes his photography studio...
Sign from the office of the Sevenoaks Chronicle, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Sevenoaks Chronicle

The first issue of the Sevenoaks Chronicle newspaper is printed.

Progress for public health

A main drainage system for waste removal is introduced in Sevenoaks.

This was thanks to the tireless efforts of James German. He successfully argued the benefits of a modern sanitation system, despite the difficulty in getting support from rate paying landowners who already had their own private drainage systems...
Kent Band of Hope Union certificate (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Temperance and the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is established in Sevenoaks. A mob greets the officers at Tub's Hill Station...
Walthamstow Hall postcard (c.1900)

Walthamstow Hall

The largest single structure in Sevenoaks is built, a red brick building to house a school for the daughters of missionaries...
Fire brigade helmet, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Library

The Sevenoaks Readies

The Fire Engine Association buys a new horse drawn engine called 'The Ready' ...
Sevenoaks Football Club in 1901, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Sevenoaks Football Club founded

Cartoon of obstructions being removed at Knole Park, Penny Pictorial News 28 June 1884

The townspeople vs Lord Sackville

Lord Mortimer Sackville imposes new regulations on public access...
Painting of Westerham Mill by E. Featherstone, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Westerham Mill shuts down

Elm View Mill in Westerham ceases operations as a flour mill.

Kent County Council is created

Forts constructed

Fort Halstead and Fort Westerham are built as part of a defence plan against a possible French invasion.

Telephone lines installed

The telephone is introduced to Sevenoaks. The first subscriber to the service is Alfred Laurie of Rockdale.
Photograph of Sevenoaks Town Band under the bandstand, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Brass band

Sevenoaks Town Band is formed and a bandstand is built on The Vine, gifted to the town by Henry Swaffield.
Sevenoaks Cycling Club with penny farthing bicycles (1886), taken by C. Essenhigh Corke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Cyclists

Cycling becomes a popular means of transport and leisure.
Lord Lister by unknown artist, © Wellcome Collection

Lord Lister and Sevenoaks Hospital

Lord Lister, pioneer of antiseptic surgery.....

Sevenoaks vs Arsenal

Sevenoaks Football Club plays against Royal Arsenal, the only professional team in South England at the time.

A crowd of 1,000 people attend the match, which was organised to raise money for local hospitals.

Sevenoaks lose 11-0.
SUDC stamp

Sevenoaks District Councils

Sevenoaks Urban and Rural District Councils are formed. Amongst other responsibilities, the SUDC takes over the fire service and begins...

The Time Machine

H.G. Wells finishes writing his science fiction novel 'The Time Machine' whilst staying at 23 Eardley Road in Sevenoaks.
Portrait of Octavia Hill, © Wellcome Collection

Octavia Hill and The National Trust

The National Trust is founded...
Early car parked on London Road, opposite a motor garage

Motor cars

The first motor car in Sevenoaks is registered.
Well dressing (a rural tradition) in Toys Hill, 1998, © Eden Valley Museum Trust

Toys Hill Well

Octavia Hill sinks a well for the residents of Toys Hill to use...

Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank opens in Market Place in Sevenoaks, in the former house of the Salmon family.
Welcome Home certificate to the West Kent Regiment on return from the South African War (1901), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

South African War

Meeting and demonstrations are held in Sevenoaks to oppose the South African War ...
Beer flagon from Bligh's brewery (late 1800s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Breweries and pubs

At this time there are around 60 pubs and 3 breweries in Sevenoaks, and more in the surrounding villages.
Sevenoaks Tubs Hill Station (1923)

Commuters

The population of Sevenoaks has doubled since the coming of the railways, with a wave of middle class commuters attracted to the area.
Nurse and patient at Emily Jackson Hospital (1920s), Courtesy of Barchester Health Care

New hip hospital

Emily Jackson raises money to buy ...
'Spring cleaning at the Lime Street Studios' by Elsie Druce, © Rye Art Gallery

Sevenoaks Art Club

Sevenoaks Art Club is founded by Elsie Druce. Its meetings are held in Lime Tree Studio.

Seven oaks planted

Seven oak trees are planted at The Vine cricket ground to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII.
Memorial plaque in Penshurst Parish Church

Jane Escombe

Artist and councillor for Penshurst...
Scaffolding at Hever Castle (1903), © Hever Castle & Gardens

Hever Castle restoration

William Waldorf Astor, the richest man in America, purchases Hever Castle...

Sevenoaks Artisans' Dwellings Company

The company builds a terrace of 20 houses in Cramptons Road (named after railway engineer Thomas Crampton), the start of a scheme to provide more working-class housing.
Membership application for Sevenoaks Library, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

First public library opens

The first free public library opens in Sevenoaks on The Drive, thanks to Henry Swaffield and Andrew Carnegie. It was designed by Edwyn Evans Cronk.
Postcard of the Royal Crown Hotel

Cricket champions

A great celebration ball is held at the Royal Crown Hotel in Sevenoaks as Kent becomes champion cricket county...
Crowds gather around Moisant's Bleriot aircraft

Plane crash at Kemsing

American aviator John Moisant crash lands in Kemsing. This is only a year after the very first cross channel flight was made...
Courtesy of Kent Archaeological Trust

Coldrum Stones burial site discovered

A new investigation of the Neolithic site reveals human remains and grave markers, indicating use as a burial site.
Early motor bus used on Sevenoaks route (pre-1920s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Library

Motor bus service begins

The first motor bus service runs in Sevenoaks, run by Mr George Humphreys, the owner of Humphrey Forge...
Cinema originally known as The Palace (1930s)

Cinema

The Palace picture house opens, the first purpose built cinema in Sevenoaks.
Boots chemists in Sevenoaks with horse and cart in front

Boots Chemists

Boots Cash Chemists opens in Sevenoaks High Street.
Nevill cricket pavillion after arson attack

Women's suffrage

Though the campaign for women's votes had been largely peaceful, this year sees a rise in violence and arson attacks carried out by militant suffragettes...

Electricity comes to Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks Electricity Company builds a power station to provide the first public supply of electricity for the area. Several large private homes had their own generators before this.

First council houses

Sevenoaks Urban District Council buys land on the Greatness estate for the building of the first council houses in Sevenoaks town.
Sevenoaks swimming baths (early 1900s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Eardley Road Swimming Baths

Money for an indoor swimming pool in Sevenoaks is gifted by Edward Kraftmeier, resident at Ashgrove House...
Photograph of Alfred Steer, cavalry solider, on horseback, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

First World War

On 4th August, Britain declares war on Germany.
Kent VAD certificate for Ethel Glasier, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Voluntary Aid Detachment

Several VAD hospitals are managed by prominent women in the area. Vita Sackville-West directs a team of nurses at Hollybush Lane Hall VAD hospital ...
Women handling hides at the Whitmore Tannery during the First World War, © Eden Valley Museum Trust

Women in the workplace

Many women taken on jobs previously done by men to keep the country going during the war...
Hand painted poster for Sevenoaks WI event (1930) by Felix Tomlin, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

The WI

Sevenoaks Women's Institute begins with 15 members. The WI was established to give women a voice and...
Siegfried Sassoon by Glyn Warren Philpot (1884-1937) © The Fitzwilliam Museum

Siegfried Sassoon

The decorated war hero, famous poet and former Sevenoaks school boy makes a public protest against the continuation of the war...
First World War memorial in Sevenoaks, erected in 1920 (2020)

War ends

St Nicholas Church bells ring out to celebrate the end of the war...

Representation of the People Act

Women who are over 30 and meet property qualifications gain the right to vote for the first time, as do millions of working class men who were previously denied the vote.
Greatness House in the 1800s

Greatness House blown up

Greatness house is purchased by a film company and blown up in a dramatic explosion for a scene in a movie about the First World War.
Photograph of Lucy Deane Streatfeild

Lucy Deane Streatfeild

Lucy Deane Streatfeild is one of the first women appointed as a Justice of the Peace...

Dredging begins at Riverhead

Gravel and sand for building materials is extracted from what will become Chipstead Lake.

Housing development

Large estates in the Sevenoaks area are sold off for housing developments, indicating a growing middle class and an upper class in need of income. Wildernesse land is bought by Percy Harvey and the Bradbourne estate is sold.
Churchill bricklaying at Chartwell

Churchill and Chartwell

Winston Churchill purchases Chartwell in Westerham as his family home...
Hand painted poster by Felix Tomlin for 'Ambrose Applejohn's Adventure' (1928), a performance by the Sevenoaks Players, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Sevenoaks Players

The Sevenoaks Players perform their first show.
Sevenoaks Liberal Party membership card, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Politics

Ronald Williams of the Liberal party becomes the first and only non Conservative Member of Parliament to represent Sevenoaks, just for one year.
Sam King playing at Knole Park Golf Club as an adult

Knole Park Golf Club opens

A 14 year old named Sam King works as a caddie on the day of the first tee at Knole...
Protestors in Riverhead (1926)

Speed limit

Protestors in Riverhead demand the enforcement of a speed limit. At this time an uncomfortable mix of motor vehicles and horse drawn carriages are using the A21 road.
Maud Grieve and her employees in her herb drying shed, © Buckinghamshire Council

Seal Herb Farm

Dorothy Hewer establishes a herb farm in Seal, with the assistance of herbalist and writer Maud Grieve...
1927 rail accident in Sevenoaks

Rail crash

A serious railway accident occurs when an express passenger train is derailed just south of the bridge across Shoreham Road at Riverhead. 13 people are killed...
Commemorative carving with tulip design, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Passenger plane crash

A Dutch aircraft crashes at Underriver near Sevenoaks on its way from Croydon to Rotterdam. The mechanic is killed. The pilot and seven passengers are injured.
The first Woodlands Holiday Camp brochure, illustrated by Greves Mellor (1929), © Barbara Benedict

Woodlands Holiday Camp opens

Greves and Winifred Mellor start a holiday campsite on the outskirts of Sevenoaks.

Equal Franchise Act

Women gain equal voting rights to men.

Paper production ends

Shoreham mill closes down.
Postcard of the Venetian Bedroom in Knole House, illustrated by Charles Essenhigh Corke and printed by Salmon (1898)

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf publishes 'Orlando', a novel inspired by the family history of her friend and lover Vita Sackville-West...
George Bennett in the library (1923), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Local Studies Library

Sevenoaks Museum

Librarian George Bennett and local historian Doctor Gordon Ward establish a museum in Sevenoaks Library.
Portrait of Vita Sackville-West by William Strang (1918), © Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery

Vita Sackville-West

Vita Sackville-West publishes her novel 'The Edwardians', a critique of aristocratic society inspired by...
'Pastoral' by Graham Sutherland, © The estate of Graham Sutherland

Graham Sutherland

Artist Graham Sutherland lives at Willow Cottage, Eynsford...
Dr James Harrison in the bird room in 1950, © The Harrison Institute

Harrison Zoological Museum

Dr James Harrison sets up a zoological museum on St Botolph's Road, specialising in mammals and birds.

It is now the Harrison Institute, a biodiversity research centre.
Drawing of Otford High Street by Vincent New for the Sevenoaks Chronicle (1932), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Vincent New

Prolific local artist and printmaker, Vincent New, is commissioned to produce a series of drawings for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, showing locations across the district...
The Majestic Cinema, Sevenoaks (1945)

Royal Crown Hotel demolished

Once the social hub of Sevenoaks...
Alvan T. Marston in 1955 at Barnfield Pit, © Wymer Collection

Swanscombe skull discovered

400,000 year old human remains are discovered in Swanscombe ...
Southern Railway electric train stopping at Chelsfield from Sevenoaks

Electrification of the railway

The first electric train runs from Sevenoaks to London.

Montreal House demolished

Paper bag from Young's Department Store, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Young's department store

The Rose and Crown Inn is demolished and replaced with Young's department store ...
Wartime civilian radio (1944), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Second World War

Britain declares war against Nazi Germany.
Breeches worn by member of the Kent Women's Land Army, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Womens Land Army

The WLA, which was set up during the First World War, is reformed...
Second World War RAF uniform, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

RAF Biggin Hill

A decoy airfield is constructed at Lullingstone to protect the Royal Air Force fighter station at Biggin Hill...

Gas works bombed

In August, the gasworks is hit by several high explosive bombs.
Second World War incendiary bomb, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Sevenoaks under attack

Sevenoaks suffers its first serious bomb attacks on 17th October. Shops on the High Street are hit, as well as houses in Buckhurst Lane and Lime Tree Walk.

The Man in White

Famous singing conductor, T.P. Ratcliff, becomes the temporary singing master at Sevenoaks School. Known as 'the man in white', he led mass singing occasions such as Wembley Cup Finals.

Beechmont House destroyed

Beechmont House is destroyed by flying bombs.
Bomb damage on Wickenden Road

Wickenden Road hit

In March, V2 rockets hit Wickenden Road, destroying several houses.
Victory Celebrations Guidebook from the following year, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

War ends

St Nicholas Church bells ring out to celebrate the end of the war on the 2nd September...
Dental practice designed by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott (2020)

Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott

Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott is buried in Edenbridge cemetery. The gravestone reads, 'Nature he loved and next to nature art'...

Seven oaks planted

Seven trees, the 'American Oaks' are planted near Vine Tavern to commemorate the town's gratitude to American forces during the war.
Crockham Hill Youth Hostel, 1958 © Eden Valley Museum Trust

Crockham Hill Youth Hostel opens

Youth Hostels offer affordable accommodation to young working people on a scale never seen before, providing access to leisure pursuits and the countryside.

Knole given to the National Trust

Charles Sackville gives Knole House to the National Trust, though the family is granted a 200 year lease on private apartments to continue living in their ancestral home.

Beatrice Wilson

Beatrice Wilson sets up the Sevenoaks and District Old People's Housing Association.

In her life she set up the first physiotherapy centre in Sevenoaks, and was dedicated to improving the lives of older people. A block of flats on Rockdale Road is named after her.
Sevenoaks Bookshop logo designed by Robert Ashwin Maynard

Sevenoaks Bookshop

The Sevenoaks Bookshop is established at 147 High Street when Basil and Frances Krish buy what was John Richardson’s secondhand bookshop...
Hilda and Nina Wilks place green briquettes onto a barrow for transfer to the hackyard, 1960, © Eden Valley Museum Trust

Chiddingstone Causeway Brickyard

The brickyard established by Owen Wilks in 1924 is now run by two women, his daughters Hilda and Nina.

Secondary Modern education for all

Wildernesse Boys' School and Hatton Girls' School open, following the Education Act 1944 which made education for all to the age of 15 a legal requirement.
Portrait of Dr James Blomfield, founder of the Sevenoaks Society, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Sevenoaks Society

The Sevenoaks Society is founded, under its original name of the Sevenoaks Preservation Society.
Illustrated colour postcard of the Seven Oaks, published by Salmon, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Seven oaks re-planted

The oak trees on Tonbridge Road dating from the 18th century are felled, due to suspected disease...

Last woman hanged

Ruth Ellis, who lived in Westerham, is the last woman in the United Kingdom to receive capital punishment, after being convicted of murder.

There was much controversy about the highly publicised case. The film 'Dance with a Stranger' was made about her story.
Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve

Wildlife reserve created

A wildlife reserve is created at Bradbourne, the first example in Britain of a former commercial gravel pit being developed for the benefit of conservation...
Memorial plaque in Emily Jackson House, now a nursing home

Hip hospital closes

The children's hospital on Eardley Road closes and becomes a geriatric wing for Sevenoaks Hospital.

Chevening House given to the Prime Minister

Ownership of Chevening House is passed to a Trust and it becomes a country residence for a nominee of the Prime Minister. Only cabinet members and royals can be nominated.

Electric street lights introduced in Sevenoaks town

Gas production ends in Sevenoaks

Digging out the swimming pool at Croft lane School, © Eden Valley Museum Trust

School Swimming Pool

Edenbridge is the first primary school in Kent to have a swimming pool.
Telegram communications between Winston Churchill and Sevenoaks Urban District Council on his 80th birthday, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Churchill's final years

Due to ill health, Winston Churchill moves out of Chartwell to his flat in London...
The Beatles in Knole Park (1967), © The Jane Bown Estate

The Beatles in Sevenoaks

Renowned portrait photographer Jane Bown is walking her dog in Knole Park when she comes across the biggest band in the world...

Beechmont House is rebuilt

Postcard for Woodlands Holiday Camp (1950s), © Barbara Benedict

Woodlands Holiday Camp closes

Greves and Winifred Mellor retire after 40 years...
Hever Castle and Tudor Village under water, © Eden Valley Museum Trust

Floods

Heavy autumn rain causes flooding. The ragstone wall of Knole Park acts as a dam until it breaks and sends water down Seal Hollow Road in Sevenoaks. In Edenbridge, Hever Castle and Tudor Village are flooded.
Crampton Road brewery

Crampton Road brewery building is demolished

Princess Diana

Diana Spencer attends West Heath School in Sevenoaks for her teenage years.
Blow's Grocery Shop, Sevenoaks (1937)

Kathleen Blow retires

Blow's grocery shop in Sevenoaks reaches the end of 93 years as a family business. The shop was established by Joseph Blow in 1881, later taken over by his daughter Kathleen.

Sevenoaks District Council created

Sevenoaks Urban and Rural District Councils are replaced by Sevenoaks District and Town Councils.

Youngs department store closes

Gordon Anckorn, c.1960

Gordon Anckorn

Gordon Anckorn, photographer and journalist for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, retires after 50 years...
Programme for the STAG opening season, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

The Stag

The Stag Theatre opens in the building previously used as a cinema, located where the Royal Crown Hotel once stood.

Dredging Chipstead Lake finishes

New library

A new library is built at Buckhurst Lane, including tourist information, citizens advice, a museum and art gallery.
M25 protest t-shirt, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

M25

The M25 or London Orbital Motorway is completed...
Painting by local artist Diana Atkinson, 'Knole After the Storm', © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

The great storm

In October, six of the seven oak trees on the vine cricket ground are blown down in the great storm. Around half of the trees on Sevenoaks Common are also lost due to the extreme weather.
Orbital LP 'Chime', © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Orbital

The pioneering electronic music duo from Sevenoaks release their first record.

Paul and Phil Hartnoll named their act after the M25 motorway, which was central to the early rave scene.
The cattle market in Sevenoaks town centre before it was moved in 1918

Cattle market closes

Sevenoaks livestock market closes down. The general market continues and moves to the town centre.
Portrait of a woman by John Downton, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

John Downton Awards

The John Downton Awards for young artists in Kent is established, in memory of the artist from Erith who passed away in 1991...

New leisure centre

A new leisure centre with indoor swimming pool is built in the centre of Sevenoaks.
Kelly Holmes at Athens 2004, © Russell Garner

Dame Kelly Holmes

Kelly Holmes from Hildenborough becomes the first athlete to win two gold medals...
Closing down sale poster from the Sevenoaks branch of Woolworths, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Woolworths closes down

Woolworths, one of Britain's oldest chain stores, closes down in the midst of a global financial crisis...

Population

The official census records the population of Sevenoaks as 24,987.
Sarah's design is linked to her art installation at Gloucester Road station, inspired by the use of underground stations as air raid shelters in WWII. Big Ben, a survivor of the war, is a symbol of resilience.

Sarah Morris

Artists are commissioned to create posters for the upcoming Olympic Games ...
Route map for olympic torch relay through Sevenoaks district, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

Olympic and Paralympic Games

The London 2012 Olympic torch relay travels through Sevenoaks...
Invitation card to civil partnership ceremony for a lesbian couple in Maidstone. Civil partnerships were introduced in 2004 for same sex couples as an alternative to marriage. They can now be upgraded to marriage under the new law.

Same sex couples gain the right to marry

Same sex marriage becomes legal in the United Kingdom after 396 MPs vote to pass the bill...

Brexit

The government holds a referendum to let the public to decide whether the country should leave the European Union. Roughly 55% of voters in the Sevenoaks and Swanley constituency vote to leave, a slightly larger majority than the 51% overall result.
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© 2021 Kent County Council
Elephas antiquus molar tooth, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. This now extinct species was twice the size of a modern African elephant, a relative of the woolly mammoth.
Elephas antiquus molar tooth, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. This now extinct species was twice the size of a modern African elephant, a relative of the woolly mammoth.

c.900,000 years ago

Our stone age ancestors

Ancestors of modern humans share the landscape with large mammals which they learn to hunt for food.

The land mass yet to become Britain is still attached to the continent.

Stone hand axe from Lower Paleolithic period, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Stone hand axe from Lower Paleolithic period, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

c.900,000 years ago

Our stone age ancestors

Ancestors of modern humans share the landscape with large mammals which they learn to hunt for food.

The land mass yet to become Britain is still attached to the continent.

Stone hand axe from Lower Paleolithic period, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Stone hand axe from Lower Paleolithic period, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Elephas antiquus molar tooth, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. This now extinct species was twice the size of a modern African elephant, a relative of the woolly mammoth.
Elephas antiquus molar tooth, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. This now extinct species was twice the size of a modern African elephant, a relative of the woolly mammoth.
Flint hand axe, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Flint hand axe, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
c.40,000 years ago

Modern humans

Modern humans have dispersed into Europe from Africa. They live in large groups, and make increasingly sophisticated tools and weapons from wood and stone.

c.40,000 years ago

Modern humans

Modern humans have dispersed into Europe from Africa. They live in large groups, and make increasingly sophisticated tools and weapons from wood and stone.
Flint hand axe, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Flint hand axe, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Neolithic flint arrowheads, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Neolithic flint arrowheads, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

c.4000 – c.2500 BC

New Stone Age

People begin farming and producing pottery, and take part in rituals that signify complex spiritual beliefs.

Britain has become an island after millennia of rising sea levels. The final separation is thought to have been caused by a giant tsunami.

Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.
Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.
Neolithic flint arrowheads, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Neolithic flint arrowheads, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

c.4000 – c.2500 BC

New Stone Age

People begin farming and producing pottery, and take part in rituals that signify complex spiritual beliefs. Britain has become an island after millennia of rising sea levels. The final separation is thought to have been caused by a giant tsunami.
Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.
Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.
Bronze Age axe head, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Bronze Age axe head, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
c.2500 – c.600 BC

Bronze Age

Bronze and copper replace stone as the preferred material for making tools and weapons. 

The adoption of agriculture becomes widespread.

Bronze Age axe head, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Bronze Age axe head, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
c.2500 – c.600 BC

Bronze Age

Bronze and copper replace stone as the preferred material for making tools and weapons. 

The adoption of agriculture becomes widespread.

Drawing of Iron Age grave at Aylesford, showing objects deliberately buried with human remains.
Drawing of Iron Age grave at Aylesford, showing objects deliberately buried with human remains.
c.100 BC

Iron Age

Oldbury camp built by Celtic British tribes on a hill west of Ightham, in a strategic location overlooking routes through the Kentish Weald. Coins start being produced and circulated in Britain from this time.
Drawing of Iron Age grave at Aylesford, showing objects deliberately buried with human remains.
Drawing of Iron Age grave at Aylesford, showing objects deliberately buried with human remains.
c.100 BC

Iron Age

Oldbury camp built by Celtic British tribes on a hill west of Ightham, in a strategic location overlooking routes through the Kentish Weald. Coins start being produced and circulated in Britain from this time.
Roman samian ware cup, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman samian ware cup, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman bone hairpins, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman bone hairpins, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
100-300 AD

Roman settlements

Roman settlers occupy areas along the River Darent, north of Sevenoaks. These include Lullingstone villa, and, later, a larger villa in Otford.
Roman gold serpent ring, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman gold serpent ring, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman samian ware cup, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman samian ware cup, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman bone hairpins, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman bone hairpins, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
100-300 AD

Roman settlements

Roman settlers occupy areas along the River Darent, north of Sevenoaks. These include Lullingstone villa, and, later, a larger villa in Otford.

Roman gold serpent ring, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Roman gold serpent ring, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Christian symbol on wall fresco from Lullingstone villa
Christian symbol on wall fresco from Lullingstone villa, © The Trustees of the British Museum
c.350

Christianity

One of Britain’s earliest Christian chapels is built at Lullingstone Roman villa.
Christian symbol on wall fresco from Lullingstone villa
Christian symbol on wall fresco from Lullingstone villa, © The Trustees of the British Museum
c.350

Christianity

One of Britain’s earliest Christian chapels is built at Lullingstone Roman villa.
Kemsing well, © Jane Mucklow
Kemsing well, © Jane Mucklow
961

Saint Edith

Saint Edith, daughter of King Edgar the Peaceful, is born in Kemsing. A well was later dedicated to her, as it was believed she gave the water healing properties.
Kemsing well, © Jane Mucklow
Kemsing well, © Jane Mucklow
961

Saint Edith

Saint Edith, daughter of King Edgar the Peaceful, is born in Kemsing. A well was later dedicated to her, as it was believed she gave the water healing properties.
King Canute penny, © The Royal Mint Museum
King Canute penny, © The Royal Mint Museum
1016

King Canute

After a failed Danish siege on London, a battle takes place in Otford between King Canute and English King Edmund Ironside. Edmund is triumphant on this occasion, but Canute is crowned King of England just months later.
King Canute penny, © The Royal Mint Museum
King Canute penny, © The Royal Mint Museum
1016

King Canute

After a failed Danish siege on London, a battle takes place in Otford between King Canute and English King Edmund Ironside. Edmund is triumphant on this occasion, but Canute is crowned King of England just months later.
Otford record in the Domesday book. Credit: Professor John Palmer, George Slater and opendomesday.org
Otford record in the Domesday book. Credit: Professor John Palmer, George Slater and opendomesday.org
1086

Domesday book

The Domesday book is produced. It shows that Otford is the largest manor in the area, covering 20 square miles, encompassing modern Sevenoaks. With 159 households, it is in the largest 20% of settlements in the country.
Otford record in the Domesday book. Credit: Professor John Palmer, George Slater and opendomesday.org
Otford record in the Domesday book. Credit: Professor John Palmer, George Slater and opendomesday.org
1086

Domesday book

The Domesday book is produced. It shows that Otford is the largest manor in the area, covering 20 square miles, encompassing modern Sevenoaks. With 159 households, it is in the largest 20% of settlements in the country.
Modern day ruins of the Norman castle
Modern day ruins of the Norman castle
c.1100

Eynsford Castle is built

Modern day ruins of the Norman castle
Modern day ruins of the Norman castle
c.1100

Eynsford Castle is built

St Nicholas Church (2020)
St Nicholas Church (2020)

1122

Parish of Sevenoaks

The earliest record of St Nicholas Church is made in the Textus Roffensis, a list made for the Diocese of Rochester.

Textus Roffensis c.1120. A page from this thousand-year-old document showing the entry for ‘Seouenaca’, the earliest record of a parish church at Sevenoaks. © Rochester Cathedral
Textus Roffensis c.1120. A page from this thousand-year-old document showing the entry for ‘Seouenaca’, the earliest record of a parish church at Sevenoaks. © Rochester Cathedral
St Nicholas Church (2020)
St Nicholas Church (2020)

1122

Parish of Sevenoaks

The earliest record of St Nicholas Church is made in the Textus Roffensis, a list made for the Diocese of Rochester.

Textus Roffensis c.1120. A page from this thousand-year-old document showing the entry for ‘Seouenaca’, the earliest record of a parish church at Sevenoaks. © Rochester Cathedral
Textus Roffensis c.1120. A page from this thousand-year-old document showing the entry for ‘Seouenaca’, the earliest record of a parish church at Sevenoaks. © Rochester Cathedral
Illustration of the murder of Thomas Becket (1860s)
Illustration of the murder of Thomas Becket (1860s)
1170

Saint Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.

Becket stayed at Otford numerous times, and his name is given to a well on the site. 

As Archbishop of Canterbury, he rejected material wealth and challenged King Henry II’s power over the church, causing a rift between them.

Illustration of the murder of Thomas Becket (1860s)
Illustration of the murder of Thomas Becket (1860s)
1170

Saint Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral.

Becket stayed at Otford numerous times, and his name is given to a well on the site. 

As Archbishop of Canterbury, he rejected material wealth and challenged King Henry II’s power over the church, causing a rift between them.

Engraving of Hever Castle (1700s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Engraving of Hever Castle (1700s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1270

Hever Castle is built

Engraving of Hever Castle (1700s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Engraving of Hever Castle (1700s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1270

Hever Castle is built

Map drawn for Hasted’s History of Kent, 1778
Sevenoaks was part of the Hundred of Codsheath until the early 19th century. This map was drawn for Hasted’s History of Kent, 1778.
1287

Sevenoaks market

First mention of a market in Sevenoaks, an unofficial market without a charter, which had developed at a road junction.

Map drawn for Hasted’s History of Kent, 1778
Sevenoaks was part of the Hundred of Codsheath until the early 19th century. This map was drawn for Hasted’s History of Kent, 1778.
1287

Sevenoaks market

First mention of a market in Sevenoaks, an unofficial market without a charter, which had developed at a road junction.

Ightham Mote, attributed to Charles Landsdeer (1799-1879), © Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Ightham Mote, attributed to Charles Landsdeer (1799-1879), © Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

c.1340

Ightham Mote manor house is built

Ightham Mote, attributed to Charles Landsdeer (1799-1879), © Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
Ightham Mote, attributed to Charles Landsdeer (1799-1879), © Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

c.1340

Ightham Mote manor house is built

Illustration of the old market house pre-1554
Illustration of the old market house pre-1554
1400s

Market house

The first wooden market house is erected in Sevenoaks.

Illustration of the old market house pre-1554
Illustration of the old market house pre-1554
1400s

Market house

The first wooden market house is erected in Sevenoaks.

Casts from the seals of William Sevenoke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Casts from the seals of William Sevenoke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1418

From rags to riches

Former foundling child, William Sevenoke, becomes Mayor of London.

Casts from the seals of William Sevenoke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Casts from the seals of William Sevenoke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1418

From rags to riches

Former foundling child, William Sevenoke, becomes Mayor of London.

Cast of Sevenoaks School seal, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Cast of Sevenoaks School seal, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1432

Sevenoaks School

William Sevenoke dies, leaving an endowment for a grammar school for poor boys, and almshouses for the two men and women ‘in greatest want’.

Sevenoaks School is now an independent fee paying school.

Cast of Sevenoaks School seal, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Cast of Sevenoaks School seal, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1432

Sevenoaks School

William Sevenoke dies, leaving an endowment for a grammar school for poor boys, and almshouses for the two men and women ‘in greatest want’.

Sevenoaks School is now an independent fee paying school.

Jack Cade's Rabblement by Keeley Halswelle (1832-1891), © Bury Art Museum
Jack Cade's Rabblement by Keeley Halswelle (1832-1891), © Bury Art Museum
1450

Cade's rebels battle at Sevenoaks

Jack Cade’s rebellion takes place in Kent, fuelled by anger against high taxes and prices. 

In June, 10,000 men prepare to bring their grievances to King Henry VI, but they are dispersed by the army. A group of rebels retreat to Sevenoaks and a battle takes place at Solefields. 

In July, the men march again to London, this time taking the head of James Fiennes, owner of Knole and King’s Lieutenant for Kent.

Jack Cade's Rabblement by Keeley Halswelle (1832-1891), © Bury Art Museum
Jack Cade's Rabblement by Keeley Halswelle (1832-1891), © Bury Art Museum
1450

Cade's rebels battle at Sevenoaks

Jack Cade’s rebellion takes place in Kent, fuelled by anger against high taxes and prices. 

In June, 10,000 men prepare to bring their grievances to King Henry VI, but they are dispersed by the army. A group of rebels retreat to Sevenoaks and a battle takes place at Solefields. 

In July, the men march again to London, this time taking the head of James Fiennes, owner of Knole and King’s Lieutenant for Kent.

Knole House in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Knole House in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1456

Knole House

Archbishop Bourchier buys 100 acres of land for £266 to build Knole House, replacing an older manor house on the site.

Knole House in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Knole House in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1456

Knole House

Archbishop Bourchier buys 100 acres of land for £266 to build Knole House, replacing an older manor house on the site.

William Caxton pub sign in Tenterden © Oast House Archive
William Caxton pub sign in Tenterden, © Oast House Archive
1476

Introduction of the printing press

William Caxton, born in the Weald of Kent, introduces the printing press to England from Germany.

William Caxton pub sign in Tenterden © Oast House Archive
William Caxton pub sign in Tenterden, © Oast House Archive
1476

Introduction of the printing press

William Caxton, born in the Weald of Kent, introduces the printing press to England from Germany.

xxxx

xxxx

xxxx

Queen Anne Boleyn, British School (c.1535), © Dulwich Picture Gallery
Queen Anne Boleyn, British School (c.1535), © Dulwich Picture Gallery
c.1504

Anne Boleyn

The Boleyn family move to Hever Castle, including the child Anne.

Queen Anne Boleyn, British School (c.1535), © Dulwich Picture Gallery
Queen Anne Boleyn, British School (c.1535), © Dulwich Picture Gallery
c.1504

Anne Boleyn

The Boleyn family move to Hever Castle, including the child Anne.

Tile fragments from Otford Palace, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Tile fragments from Otford Palace, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Silver brooch found in Otford (c.1300 - 1600 AD), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Silver brooch found in Otford (c.1300 - 1600 AD), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1518

Otford Palace

Otford Palace is built by Archbishop Warham. 

The grand Tudor brick building replaces an older manor on the site, rivalling Cardinal Wolsey’s Hampton Court.

Engraving of Otford Palace, which fell to ruin during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Engraving of Otford Palace, which fell to ruin during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Tile fragments from Otford Palace, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Tile fragments from Otford Palace, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Silver brooch found in Otford (c.1300 - 1600 AD), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Silver brooch found in Otford (c.1300 - 1600 AD), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1518

Otford Palace

Otford Palace is built by Archbishop Warham. 

The grand Tudor brick building replaces an older manor on the site, rivalling Cardinal Wolsey’s Hampton Court.

Engraving of Otford Palace, which fell to ruin during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Engraving of Otford Palace, which fell to ruin during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Field of the Cloth of Gold by John Gilbert (1817-1897), © Parliamentary Art Collection
Field of the Cloth of Gold by John Gilbert (1817-1897), © Parliamentary Art Collection
1520

Henry VIII

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon camp at Otford with their army of 5,000 men on their way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a grand event held in northern France (at this time part of England) to strengthen the bond between King Henry and King Francis I of France.

Field of the Cloth of Gold by John Gilbert (1817-1897), © Parliamentary Art Collection
Field of the Cloth of Gold by John Gilbert (1817-1897), © Parliamentary Art Collection
1520

Henry VIII

Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon camp at Otford with their army of 5,000 men on their way to the Field of the Cloth of Gold, a grand event held in northern France (at this time part of England) to strengthen the bond between King Henry and King Francis I of France.

Victorian embroidery commemorating John Frith, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Victorian embroidery commemorating John Frith, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1533

John Frith becomes a martyr

John Frith from Westerham becomes the first English martyr to be executed for publishing Reformation doctrines, burnt at the stake at just 30 years old. 

He had helped William Tyndale translate the bible into English.

Frith went to school in Sevenoaks.

Victorian embroidery commemorating John Frith, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Victorian embroidery commemorating John Frith, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1533

John Frith becomes a martyr

John Frith from Westerham becomes the first English martyr to be executed for publishing Reformation doctrines, burnt at the stake at just 30 years old. 

He had helped William Tyndale translate the bible into English.

Frith went to school in Sevenoaks.

1554

Wyatt's rebels executed in Sevenoaks

Sir Thomas Wyatt leads a rebellion against Queen Mary I to prevent her marriage to Philip II of Spain, worried it will result in Spanish domination. There is also concern at this time that England might revert to Catholicism. Local leaders of the Rebellion are hanged at Gallows Corner, to the west of St John’s Hill in Sevenoaks, after being held in the town jail.

1554

Wyatt's rebels executed in Sevenoaks

Sir Thomas Wyatt leads a rebellion against Queen Mary I to prevent her marriage to Philip II of Spain, worried it will result in Spanish domination. There is also concern at this time that England might revert to Catholicism. Local leaders of the Rebellion are hanged at Gallows Corner, to the west of St John’s Hill in Sevenoaks, after being held in the town jail.

Engraving of William Lambarde
Engraving of William Lambarde
1576

Lambarde's history of Kent

William Lambarde publishes A Perambulation of the County of Kent, which includes the first historical writing about Sevenoaks.
Engraving of William Lambarde
Engraving of William Lambarde
1576

Lambarde's history of Kent

William Lambarde publishes A Perambulation of the County of Kent, which includes the first historical writing about Sevenoaks.
Portrait engraving of Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Portrait engraving of Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1603

Knole and the Sackvilles

Queen Elizabeth I dies and Knole House is left to her cousin, Thomas Sackville. It is to stay in the Sackville family for centuries.
Portrait engraving of Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Portrait engraving of Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1603

Knole and the Sackvilles

Queen Elizabeth I dies and Knole House is left to her cousin, Thomas Sackville. It is to stay in the Sackville family for centuries.
Tunbridge Wells in the time of Charles II, © Wellcome Collection
Tunbridge Wells in the time of Charles II, © Wellcome Collection
1606

Curative wells discovered

Mineral water springs containing iron salts are discovered in the parish of Tonbridge, in the area that would become the town of Tunbridge Wells. They become a destination for wealthy Londoners seeking recuperation.
Tunbridge Wells in the time of Charles II, © Wellcome Collection
Tunbridge Wells in the time of Charles II, © Wellcome Collection
1606

Curative wells discovered

Mineral water springs containing iron salts are discovered in the parish of Tonbridge, in the area that would become the town of Tunbridge Wells. They become a destination for wealthy Londoners seeking recuperation.
Portrait of John Donne at the age of 49, © Victoria and Albert Museum
Portrait of John Donne at the age of 49, © Victoria and Albert Museum

1616

John Donne

John Donne is appointed as the Rector of St Nicholas Church, though he is only recorded as preaching there on one occasion.

Considered one of the greatest poets of the English language, Donne was the founder of the metaphysical school of poetry. His poem ‘No man is an island’, is widely quoted to this day.

Prolific diarist and Lady of Knole House, Anne Clifford, wrote that on meeting Donne she was ‘blubbered with weeping’ by his speech.

Portrait of John Donne at the age of 49, © Victoria and Albert Museum
Portrait of John Donne at the age of 49, © Victoria and Albert Museum

1616

John Donne

John Donne is appointed as the Rector of St Nicholas Church, though he is only recorded as preaching there on one occasion.

Considered one of the greatest poets of the English language, Donne was the founder of the metaphysical school of poetry. His poem ‘No man is an island’, is widely quoted to this day. 

Prolific diarist and Lady of Knole House, Anne Clifford, wrote that on meeting Donne she was ‘blubbered with weeping’ by his speech.

Chevening House by Bayne (1829)
Chevening House by Bayne (1829)
1620

Chevening House

The first Chevening House is built to a design by Inigo Jones, the founder of English classical architecture.

Chevening House by Bayne (1829)
Chevening House by Bayne (1829)
1620

Chevening House

The first Chevening House is built to a design by Inigo Jones, the founder of English classical architecture.

Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Greene (c.1660), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Greene (c.1660), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Wickenden (1666), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Wickenden (1666), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1650s – 60s

Trade tokens

Merchants of Sevenoaks issue their own low value trade tokens because the government has failed to mint enough new coins. This unofficial currency is produced across the country.

1650s – 60s

Trade tokens

Merchants of Sevenoaks issue their own low value trade tokens because the government has failed to mint enough new coins. This unofficial currency is produced across the country.

Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Greene (c.1660), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Greene (c.1660), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Wickenden (1666), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Token issued by Sevenoaks merchant Thomas Wickenden (1666), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Printing block used for H.L. Somers-Cocks and V.F. Boyson’s book, Edenbridge
Printing block used for H.L. Somers-Cocks and V.F. Boyson’s book, Edenbridge, published in 1912. It shows images of Edenbridge trade tokens. One issued by Robert Alchorne and William Ablett, and the other by Katherine Huberd. © Eden Valley Museum Trust

1672

Trade tokens suppressed by royal proclamation

Printing block used for H.L. Somers-Cocks and V.F. Boyson’s book, Edenbridge
Printing block used for H.L. Somers-Cocks and V.F. Boyson’s book, Edenbridge, published in 1912. It shows images of Edenbridge trade tokens. One issued by Robert Alchorne and William Ablett, and the other by Katherine Huberd. © Eden Valley Museum Trust

1672

Trade tokens suppressed by royal proclamation

Engraving of Dr Thomas Fuller (1739), © The Trustees of the British Museum
Engraving of Dr Thomas Fuller (1739), © The Trustees of the British Museum

1686

Dr Fuller at the Red House

The distinctive new building on Sevenoaks High Street becomes the home of Doctor Thomas Fuller, esteemed pharmacist and medical practitioner. 

He held views on the benefits of beer and the dangers of tobacco smoking, and was known to never use any treatment on a patient that he had not tested on himself.

The Red House, now a solicitor's offices (2020)
The Red House, now a solicitor's offices (2020)
Engraving of Dr Thomas Fuller (1739), © The Trustees of the British Museum
Engraving of Dr Thomas Fuller (1739), © The Trustees of the British Museum

1686

Dr Fuller at the Red House

The distinctive new building on Sevenoaks High Street becomes the home of Doctor Thomas Fuller, esteemed pharmacist and medical practitioner. 

He held views on the benefits of beer and the dangers of tobacco smoking, and was known to never use any treatment on a patient that he had not tested on himself.

The Red House, now a solicitor's offices (2020)
The Red House, now a solicitor's offices (2020)
Watercolour sketch of Shoreham mill before it was demolished in 1936, by Vincent New, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Watercolour sketch of Shoreham mill before it was demolished in 1936, by Vincent New, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1690s

Shoreham paper mill

The first reference is made to a paper mill in Shoreham. The clean, hard water of the Darent chalk stream was well suited to making white paper.

Prior to this there is evidence of a corn mill and a fulling (cloth making) mill.

Watercolour sketch of Shoreham mill before it was demolished in 1936, by Vincent New, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Watercolour sketch of Shoreham mill before it was demolished in 1936, by Vincent New, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1690s

Shoreham paper mill

The first reference is made to a paper mill in Shoreham. The clean, hard water of the Darent chalk stream was well suited to making white paper.

Prior to this there is evidence of a corn mill and a fulling (cloth making) mill.

Wildernesse House c. 1820, drawing by J.P. Neale
Wildernesse House c. 1820, drawing by J.P. Neale
1702

Wildernesse house is built

Wildernesse House c. 1820, drawing by J.P. Neale
Wildernesse House c. 1820, drawing by J.P. Neale
1702

Wildernesse house is built

Turnpike toll post, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Turnpike toll post, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1709

Turnpike road

Turnpike built from Tonbridge to Sevenoaks. The introduction of turnpike roads indicates Parliament’s increasing responsibility over road maintenance.

Turnpike Acts authorised a trust to levy tolls on those using the road.

Turnpike toll post, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Turnpike toll post, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1709

Turnpike road

Turnpike built from Tonbridge to Sevenoaks. The introduction of turnpike roads indicates Parliament’s increasing responsibility over road maintenance.

Turnpike Acts authorised a trust to levy tolls on those using the road.

Souvenir programme for the bicenentary of the first cricket match on the Vine (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Souvenir programme for the bicenentary of the first cricket match on the Vine (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1734

Cricket on the Vine

The first cricket match recorded in Sevenoaks takes place on the Vine.

The London Evening Post 23 August 1734, reported: 

‘The Match at Cricket between the eleven Gentlemen of Sevenoaks in Kent, and the Gentlemen of London, on Tuesday last, on Sevenoaks-Vine, was not determined that Day, there being four Wickets to go down, and twenty-three Notches to fetch to win when the Time was out; but the Match was ended Yesterday, in favour of London, by six Notches only.’

Souvenir programme for the bicenentary of the first cricket match on the Vine (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Souvenir programme for the bicenentary of the first cricket match on the Vine (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1734

Cricket on the Vine

The first cricket match recorded in Sevenoaks takes place on the Vine.

The London Evening Post 23 August 1734, reported: 

‘The Match at Cricket between the eleven Gentlemen of Sevenoaks in Kent, and the Gentlemen of London, on Tuesday last, on Sevenoaks-Vine, was not determined that Day, there being four Wickets to go down, and twenty-three Notches to fetch to win when the Time was out; but the Match was ended Yesterday, in favour of London, by six Notches only.’

Jos Burchetts add 80 stitches to the outer cover of a cricket ball at the Wisden Factory in Chiddingstone Causeway, 1970, © Eden Valley Museum Trust
Jos Burchetts add 80 stitches to the outer cover of a cricket ball at the Wisden Factory in Chiddingstone Causeway, 1970, © Eden Valley Museum Trust

1760

Cricket ball manufacture

The craft of cricket ball making is established by the Duke Family in Penshurst. 

They become the first manufacturers of the classic six seam ball.

Jos Burchetts add 80 stitches to the outer cover of a cricket ball at the Wisden Factory in Chiddingstone Causeway, 1970, © Eden Valley Museum Trust
Jos Burchetts add 80 stitches to the outer cover of a cricket ball at the Wisden Factory in Chiddingstone Causeway, 1970, © Eden Valley Museum Trust

1760

Cricket ball manufacture

The craft of cricket ball making is established by the Duke Family in Penshurst. 

They become the first manufacturers of the classic six seam ball.

Painting of Lord Amherst in Montreal Park, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Painting of Lord Amherst in Montreal Park, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1764

Jeffrey Amherst

Sir Jeffrey Amherst is recalled from war and rebuilds his family home in Sevenoaks, naming it Montreal House.

Though a benefactor to his home town, his actions overseas tell a darker story. 

Commander in Chief of North America, Amherst was intent on exterminating the indigenous population. Letters show that he promoted the idea of ‘gifting’ smallpox ridden blankets to Native Americans.

Montreal House in the early 1800s
Montreal House in the early 1800s
Painting of Lord Amherst in Montreal Park, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Painting of Lord Amherst in Montreal Park, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1764

Jeffrey Amherst

Sir Jeffrey Amherst is recalled from war and rebuilds his family home in Sevenoaks, naming it Montreal House.

Though a benefactor to his home town, his actions overseas tell a darker story. 

Commander in Chief of North America, Amherst was intent on exterminating the indigenous population. Letters show that he promoted the idea of ‘gifting’ smallpox ridden blankets to Native Americans.

Montreal House in the early 1800s
Montreal House in the early 1800s
Peter Nouaille of Greatness in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Peter Nouaille of Greatness in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1766

Silk production

The Nouaille silk mills at Greatness are at peak production. 100 people are employed at the busy factory, including children.

Peter Nouaille of Greatness in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Peter Nouaille of Greatness in 1809, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1766

Silk production

The Nouaille silk mills at Greatness are at peak production. 100 people are employed at the busy factory, including children.

18th century Pett cricket bat on loan from the Vine Cricket Club, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. It is the second oldest cricket bat on display in a museum.
18th century Pett cricket bat on loan from the Vine Cricket Club, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. It is the second oldest cricket bat on display in a museum.

1766

Cricket bat production

John Frederick Sackville purchases 11 cricket bats from William Pett of Sevenoaks, one of the earliest known makers of cricket bats. Each costs two shillings and sixpence.

18th century Pett cricket bat on loan from the Vine Cricket Club, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. It is the second oldest cricket bat on display in a museum.
18th century Pett cricket bat on loan from the Vine Cricket Club, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum. It is the second oldest cricket bat on display in a museum.

1766

Cricket bat production

John Frederick Sackville purchases 11 cricket bats from William Pett of Sevenoaks, one of the earliest known makers of cricket bats. Each costs two shillings and sixpence.

Kippington House, The Seat of Francis Motley Austen Esq. drawn by J.G. Wood © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Kippington House, The Seat of Francis Motley Austen Esq. drawn by J.G. Wood © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

c.1780

Kippington House

Sir Charles Farnaby, a descendant of Thomas Farnaby, builds Kippington House. 

It later becomes home to Jane Austen’s uncle Francis Motley Austen.

Kippington House, early 19th century
Kippington House, early 19th century
Kippington House, The Seat of Francis Motley Austen Esq. drawn by J.G. Wood © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Kippington House, The Seat of Francis Motley Austen Esq. drawn by J.G. Wood © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

c.1780

Kippington House

Sir Charles Farnaby, a descendant of Thomas Farnaby, builds Kippington House. 

It later becomes home to Jane Austen’s uncle Francis Motley Austen.

Kippington House, early 19th century
Kippington House, early 19th century
Engraving of Olaudah Equiano
Engraving of Olaudah Equiano
1780s

Early abolitionists

A group of Evangelical activists known as the Teston circle begin campaigning to end the slave trade, from the home of Charles and Margaret Middleton, near Maidstone.

In 1787, the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade is founded, a result of the influential Teston circle. Peter Nouaille of Greatness contributes 5 guineas to the cause.

Celebrated abolitionist Olaudah Equiano is reported to have visited Teston. Equiano wrote a book about a traumatic journey from slavery to freedom which he promoted throughout the country.

Engraving of Olaudah Equiano
Engraving of Olaudah Equiano
1780s

Early abolitionists

A group of Evangelical activists known as the Teston circle begin campaigning to end the slave trade, from the home of Charles and Margaret Middleton, near Maidstone.

In 1787, the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade is founded, a result of the influential Teston circle. Peter Nouaille of Greatness contributes 5 guineas to the cause.

Celebrated abolitionist Olaudah Equiano is reported to have visited Teston. Equiano wrote a book about a traumatic journey from slavery to freedom which he promoted throughout the country.

Portrait of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra, © National Portrait Gallery
Portrait of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra, © National Portrait Gallery
1788

Jane Austen

A 12 year old Jane Austen visits her great uncle Francis Austen who lives at the Red House on Sevenoaks high street. 

It was here she met wealthy members of her family who might have inspired her first witty observations of high society life.

Portrait of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra, © National Portrait Gallery
Portrait of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra, © National Portrait Gallery
1788

Jane Austen

A 12 year old Jane Austen visits her great uncle Francis Austen who lives at the Red House on Sevenoaks high street. 

It was here she met wealthy members of her family who might have inspired her first witty observations of high society life.

'The Mail Coach in a Thunder Storm on Newmarket Heath' (1827), © Royal Mail Group Ltd, courtesy of The Postal Museum
'The Mail Coach in a Thunder Storm on Newmarket Heath' (1827), © Royal Mail Group Ltd, courtesy of The Postal Museum
1798

Mail robbery

A letter from the Sevenoaks Postmaster dated 2nd July describes a ‘dramatic event’, when the mail coach is robbed on its way from London. The thieves ‘clapt a pistol to the Boy’s head’ at Pratts Bottom. 

After this event, an armed guard was authorised for the London to Hastings mail route.

'The Mail Coach in a Thunder Storm on Newmarket Heath' (1827), © Royal Mail Group Ltd, courtesy of The Postal Museum
'The Mail Coach in a Thunder Storm on Newmarket Heath' (1827), © Royal Mail Group Ltd, courtesy of The Postal Museum
1798

Mail robbery

A letter from the Sevenoaks Postmaster dated 2nd July describes a ‘dramatic event’, when the mail coach is robbed on its way from London. The thieves ‘clapt a pistol to the Boy’s head’ at Pratts Bottom. 

After this event, an armed guard was authorised for the London to Hastings mail route.

Illustration of the Stanhope printing press
Illustration of the Stanhope printing press

1803

Stanhope's printing press invented at Chevening

Charles Mahon, 3rd Earl Stanhope, makes a significant breakthrough in printing when he invents a cast-iron press which could withstand the pressures of repeated prints. 

His first design, with straight sides, still cracked during a run, but his second design, with curved sides, proved much stronger. This press was used to print The Times newspaper for most of the 19th century.

Illustration of the Stanhope printing press
Illustration of the Stanhope printing press

1803

Stanhope's printing press invented at Chevening

Charles Mahon, 3rd Earl Stanhope, makes a significant breakthrough in printing when he invents a cast-iron press which could withstand the pressures of repeated prints. 

His first design, with straight sides, still cracked during a run, but his second design, with curved sides, proved much stronger. This press was used to print The Times newspaper for most of the 19th century.

Lady Boswell's School certificate (1920), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Lady Boswell's School certificate (1920), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1818

Lady Boswell's School

A new, purpose built, Lady Boswell’s School opens in London Road.

Lady Boswell's School certificate (1920), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Lady Boswell's School certificate (1920), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1818

Lady Boswell's School

A new, purpose built, Lady Boswell’s School opens in London Road.

Shoreham Vale by John Linnell (1792-1882), © The Fitzwilliam Museum
Shoreham Vale by John Linnell (1792-1882), © The Fitzwilliam Museum
Hesperides, 'Dance around the Golden Tree' by Edward Calvert (1799–1883), © The Fitzwilliam Museum
Hesperides, 'Dance around the Golden Tree' by Edward Calvert (1799–1883), © The Fitzwilliam Museum
The Harvest Moon by Samuel Palmer (1805–1881), © Yale Center for British Art
The Harvest Moon by Samuel Palmer (1805–1881), © Yale Center for British Art

1826 – 1835

The Shoreham Ancients

Samuel Palmer invites fellow artists to stay at his cottage in Shoreham, including John Linnell and Edward Calvert. Inspired by the work of William Blake, also a guest at the cottage, they formed a group called The Ancients.

1826 – 1835

The Shoreham Ancients

Samuel Palmer invites fellow artists to stay at his cottage in Shoreham, including John Linnell and Edward Calvert. Inspired by the work of William Blake, also a guest at the cottage, they formed a group called The Ancients.

Shoreham Vale by John Linnell (1792-1882), © The Fitzwilliam Museum
Shoreham Vale by John Linnell (1792-1882), © The Fitzwilliam Museum
Hesperides, 'Dance around the Golden Tree' by Edward Calvert (1799–1883), © The Fitzwilliam Museum
Hesperides, 'Dance around the Golden Tree' by Edward Calvert (1799–1883), © The Fitzwilliam Museum
The Harvest Moon by Samuel Palmer (1805–1881), © Yale Center for British Art
The Harvest Moon by Samuel Palmer (1805–1881), © Yale Center for British Art
Beechmont House in the late 19th century
Beechmont House in the late 19th century

c.1830

Beechmont House is built

Beechmont House in the late 19th century
Beechmont House in the late 19th century

c.1830

Beechmont House is built

Satirical print of Captain Swing (1930), © The Trustees of the British Museum
Satirical print of Captain Swing (1930), © The Trustees of the British Museum

1830

Swing Riots

Farm workers protest against mechanisation, harsh working conditions and low pay. 

At least 14 incidents were recorded in Sevenoaks, and the Maidstone Journal reported that in Sevenoaks ‘scarcely a night passes without some farmer having a cornstack or a barn set on fire’. Threatening letters to farm owners, magistrates and others were signed by ‘Captain Swing’, a ficticious figurehead of the movement.

The uprising was a result of increasing levels of unemployment and poverty, partly due to the population rise after the Napoleonic war. Several rioters were punished with jail and some even execution.

Satirical print of Captain Swing (1930), © The Trustees of the British Museum
Satirical print of Captain Swing (1930), © The Trustees of the British Museum

1830

Swing Riots

Farm workers protest against mechanisation, harsh working conditions and low pay. 

At least 14 incidents were recorded in Sevenoaks, and the Maidstone Journal reported that in Sevenoaks ‘scarcely a night passes without some farmer having a cornstack or a barn set on fire’. Threatening letters to farm owners, magistrates and others were signed by ‘Captain Swing’, a ficticious figurehead of the movement.

The uprising was a result of increasing levels of unemployment and poverty, partly due to the population rise after the Napoleonic war. Several rioters were punished with jail and some even execution.

1832

The fight against slavery continues

Sevenoaks Anti-Slavery Society is formed, which pressures Parliament to end slavery in the Empire. The 1807 Act had prohibited slave trading, but not slave ownership.

Records of the Slave Compensation Commission provide a census of British slave ownership in the 1830s. The 14 names listed from the Sevenoaks area include John Atkins, politician, who lived at Halstead Place, and Reverend John Thomas Wilgress in Sundridge. 

Slavery in the British Empire began in the 1600s, and the connection to Sevenoaks goes back just as far. Edward Sackville of Knole briefly served as Governor of the Somers Island Company which administered Bermuda from 1615, and later became a Commissioner for Planting Virginia. Over the centuries, a succession of wealthy residents in the district had built their fortune (at least in part) through owning shares in Caribbean plantations.

1832

The fight against slavery continues

Sevenoaks Anti-Slavery Society is formed, which pressures Parliament to end slavery in the Empire. The 1807 Act had prohibited slave trading, but not slave ownership.

Records of the Slave Compensation Commission provide a census of British slave ownership in the 1830s. The 14 names listed from the Sevenoaks area include John Atkins, politician, who lived at Halstead Place, and Reverend John Thomas Wilgress in Sundridge. 

Slavery in the British Empire began in the 1600s, and the connection to Sevenoaks goes back just as far. Edward Sackville of Knole briefly served as Governor of the Somers Island Company which administered Bermuda from 1615, and later became a Commissioner for Planting Virginia. Over the centuries, a succession of wealthy residents in the district had built their fortune (at least in part) through owning shares in Caribbean plantations.

George Cruikshank's illustration of 'Oliver asking for more' (1911)
George Cruikshank's illustration of 'Oliver asking for more' (1911)

1834

Workhouses and the new Poor Law

Central government takes over management of ‘poor relief’ from the parish overseers, and workhouses are introduced. 

The new law is opposed by many, including Sevenoaks Rector Thomas Curteis, who writes his concerns in a long letter to Prime Minister Peel. The local St Johns Hill workhouse becomes subject to scandal for its failings.

Charles Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ is the most famous depiction of workhouses from this time.

George Cruikshank's illustration of 'Oliver asking for more' (1911)
George Cruikshank's illustration of 'Oliver asking for more' (1911)

1834

Workhouses and the new Poor Law

Central government takes over management of ‘poor relief’ from the parish overseers, and workhouses are introduced. 

The new law is opposed by many, including Sevenoaks Rector Thomas Curteis, who writes his concerns in a long letter to Prime Minister Peel. The local St Johns Hill workhouse becomes subject to scandal for its failings.

Charles Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ is the most famous depiction of workhouses from this time.

Sevenoaks high street, early 1900s
Sevenoaks high street (c.1900)

1840

Street lighting introduced

Sevenoaks gets its first street lighting. 

Gas lanterns on metal standards are installed along the High Street.

Sevenoaks high street, early 1900s
Sevenoaks high street (c.1900)

1840

Street lighting introduced

Sevenoaks gets its first street lighting. 

Gas lanterns on metal standards are installed along the High Street.

Hospital, formerly the workhouse (1990s)
Hospital, formerly the workhouse (1990s)

1844

New workhouse

A new workhouse is built in Sundridge, which will provide local poor relief for the next century. 

Hospital, formerly the workhouse (1990s)
Hospital, formerly the workhouse (1990s)

1844

New workhouse

A new workhouse is built in Sundridge, which will provide local poor relief for the next century. 

Oil painting of Charles Hardinge, son of Henry Hardinge © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Oil painting of Charles Hardinge, son of Henry Hardinge © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1844

The Hardinges and Colonial India

Former Sevenoaks School boy, Henry Hardinge, becomes Governor General of India, whilst the country is still under the rule of the British East India Company. His son Charles joins him as his Private Secretary.

The British Crown later took control of India in 1858, after the Indian Rebellion the previous year, but a new system of governance was not enough to suppress the growing independence movement.

Charles’s son, also Charles, went on to be Governor General of India between 1910 and 1916, following in the family footsteps.

The Indian people finally broke free of colonial rule in 1947, after helping Britain fight two world wars.

Oil painting of Charles Hardinge, son of Henry Hardinge © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Oil painting of Charles Hardinge, son of Henry Hardinge © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1844

The Hardinges and Colonial India

Former Sevenoaks School boy, Henry Hardinge, becomes Governor General of India, whilst the country is still under the rule of the British East India Company. His son Charles joins him as his Private Secretary.

The British Crown later took control of India in 1858, after the Indian Rebellion the previous year, but a new system of governance was not enough to suppress the growing independence movement.

Charles’s son, also Charles, went on to be Governor General of India between 1910 and 1916, following in the family footsteps.

The Indian people finally broke free of colonial rule in 1947, after helping Britain fight two world wars.

Two police officers on Sevenoaks High Street (late 1800s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Two police officers on Sevenoaks High Street (late 1800s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1857

Kent County Police Constabulary established

Two police officers on Sevenoaks High Street (late 1800s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Two police officers on Sevenoaks High Street (late 1800s), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1857

Kent County Police Constabulary established

Darwin's study in Down House
Darwin's study in Down House

1859

Darwin's Origin of Species

Charles Darwin publishes his breakthrough work on his theory of evolution, which he wrote at Down House, his home near Orpington.

Portrait photograph of Charles Darwin
Portrait photograph of Charles Darwin
Darwin's study in Down House
Darwin's study in Down House

1859

Darwin's Origin of Species

Charles Darwin publishes his breakthrough work on his theory of evolution, which he wrote at Down House, his home near Orpington.

Portrait photograph of Charles Darwin
Portrait photograph of Charles Darwin
Oil painting of Benjamin Harrison by C. Chitty (1921), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Oil painting of Benjamin Harrison by C. Chitty (1921), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1860s

Neolithic site discovered

Benjamin Harrison and Flinders Petrie conduct analysis of the Coldrum Stones, a Neolithic site in Wrotham.

It is considered to be the oldest prehistoric site in the UK, pre-dating Stonehenge by approximately 1000 years.

Sevenoaks Museum now holds a collection of Benjamin Harrison’s archaeological finds.

Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.
Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.
Oil painting of Benjamin Harrison by C. Chitty (1921), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Oil painting of Benjamin Harrison by C. Chitty (1921), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1860s

Neolithic site discovered

Benjamin Harrison and Flinders Petrie conduct analysis of the Coldrum Stones, a Neolithic site in Wrotham.

It is considered to be the oldest prehistoric site in the UK, pre-dating Stonehenge by approximately 1000 years.

Sevenoaks Museum now holds a collection of Benjamin Harrison’s archaeological finds.

Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.
Coldrum Longbarrow (2020). This ancient burial site was built around 4000 BC, and is one of the 'Medway Megaliths'.
Portrait of Thomas Crampton
Portrait of Thomas Crampton

1862

The railway comes to Sevenoaks

Responsible for the new, steam powered, Swanley to Bat and Ball line was the distinguished engineer Thomas Crampton.

Portrait of Thomas Crampton
Portrait of Thomas Crampton

1862

The railway comes to Sevenoaks

Responsible for the new, steam powered, Swanley to Bat and Ball line was the distinguished engineer Thomas Crampton.

Dunton Green brick and brick mould, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Dunton Green brick and brick mould, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1860s

Brick making

Local brick making develops into a major industry, with demand for millions of bricks for railway construction and later for house building.

Dunton Green brick and brick mould, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Dunton Green brick and brick mould, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1860s

Brick making

Local brick making develops into a major industry, with demand for millions of bricks for railway construction and later for house building.

Queen Victoria by Richard Hooke, © Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Queen Victoria by Richard Hooke, © Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

1867

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria visits Sevenoaks, arriving by train to Bat and Ball Station.

Queen Victoria by Richard Hooke, © Belfast Health and Social Care Trust
Queen Victoria by Richard Hooke, © Belfast Health and Social Care Trust

1867

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria visits Sevenoaks, arriving by train to Bat and Ball Station.

Sevenoaks railway tunnel by unknown artist
Sevenoaks railway tunnel by unknown artist

1868

Sevenoaks railway tunnel

Sevenoaks railway tunnel is completed and becomes the fifth longest railway tunnel in the country. 

The hard working navvies who dug the tunnel had been living on Bogs Island, a slum area of Dunton Green where disease was rife. The working and living conditions of the navvies was described in German economist Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’, which quotes the reports of the Sevenoaks medical officer of health.

Sevenoaks railway tunnel by unknown artist
Sevenoaks railway tunnel by unknown artist

1868

Sevenoaks railway tunnel

Sevenoaks railway tunnel is completed and becomes the fifth longest railway tunnel in the country. 

The hard working navvies who dug the tunnel had been living on Bogs Island, a slum area of Dunton Green where disease was rife. The working and living conditions of the navvies was described in German economist Karl Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’, which quotes the reports of the Sevenoaks medical officer of health.

One of Crawshay's monoliths in Bradbourne park (2020)
One of Crawshay's monoliths in Bradbourne park (2020)

1870s

Francis Crawshay's druid monuments

The eccentric iron baron from South Wales, Francis Crawshay, moves to Bradbourne in Sevenoaks.

He had a keen interest in druids, and erected stone monoliths on the estate. He was known to indulge in midnight druidical processions.

One of Crawshay's monoliths in Bradbourne park (2020)
One of Crawshay's monoliths in Bradbourne park (2020)

1870s

Francis Crawshay's druid monuments

The eccentric iron baron from South Wales, Francis Crawshay, moves to Bradbourne in Sevenoaks.

He had a keen interest in druids, and erected stone monoliths on the estate. He was known to indulge in midnight druidical processions.

Edith Nesbit, portrait photograph from the book 'The Lives and Loves of Edith Nesbit'
Edith Nesbit, portrait photograph from the book 'The Lives and Loves of Edith Nesbit'

1870s

The Railway Children

A teenage Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, lives at Halstead Hall near Sevenoaks. 

Though her famous story is set in Yorkshire, it was in rural Kent that Nesbit fell in love with trains and the house in Knockholt which inspired the book.

Edith Nesbit, portrait photograph from the book 'The Lives and Loves of Edith Nesbit'
Edith Nesbit, portrait photograph from the book 'The Lives and Loves of Edith Nesbit'

1870s

The Railway Children

A teenage Edith Nesbit, author of The Railway Children, lives at Halstead Hall near Sevenoaks. 

Though her famous story is set in Yorkshire, it was in rural Kent that Nesbit fell in love with trains and the house in Knockholt which inspired the book.

Scuppet used for moving hops in the oast house, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Scuppet used for moving hops in the oast house, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1870s

Hop picking and harvesting

Hop farming reaches its peak. 

Gypsy travellers and Londoners would come to Kent for seasonal work during hop season. The flowers would be picked then dried in oast houses. For working class families from the city, the experience was considered a holiday.

Hop pickers at work (1850s), © Wellcome Collection
Hop pickers at work (1850s), © Wellcome Collection
Scuppet used for moving hops in the oast house, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Scuppet used for moving hops in the oast house, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1870s

Hop picking and harvesting

Hop farming reaches its peak. 

Gypsy travellers and Londoners would come to Kent for seasonal work during hop season. The flowers would be picked then dried in oast houses. For working class families from the city, the experience was considered a holiday.

Hop pickers at work (1850s), © Wellcome Collection
Hop pickers at work (1850s), © Wellcome Collection
Portrait medallion of Emily Jackson, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Portrait medallion of Emily Jackson, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1871

Emily Jackson's hospital

Emily Jackson starts a hospital for the care of children with tubercular hip disease, working from her cottage on the Vine.

Emily initiated her career in nursing when she found a young girl named Ellen Merry living in a Sevenoaks slum, badly suffering with hip abscesses.

Painting of cottage where Emily Jackson set up her first hospital, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Painting of cottage where Emily Jackson set up her first hospital, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Portrait medallion of Emily Jackson, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Portrait medallion of Emily Jackson, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
1871

Emily Jackson's hospital

Emily Jackson starts a hospital for the care of children with tubercular hip disease, working from her cottage on the Vine.

Emily initiated her career in nursing when she found a young girl named Ellen Merry living in a Sevenoaks slum, badly suffering with hip abscesses.

Painting of cottage where Emily Jackson set up her first hospital, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Painting of cottage where Emily Jackson set up her first hospital, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Lieutenant Cameron's Welcome Home by Charles West Cope (1877), © Shoreham Church. Cameron and Jacko can be seen in a carriage being pulled by the people of the village.
Lieutenant Cameron's Welcome Home by Charles West Cope (1877), © Shoreham Church. Cameron and Jacko can be seen in a carriage being pulled by the people of the village.

1876

Verney Lovett Cameron returns from Africa

Verney Lovett Cameron returns home to Shoreham with his servant John Stanboul, known as ‘Jacko’, from central Africa. They bring back various plants and animals for research, including a porcupine and a monkey. 

Cameron had been sent by the Royal Geographic Society to help the explorer and missionary David Livingstone. After discovering that Livingstone had died, he continued travelling across Africa, recording his three year journey. 

In Shoreham, Jacko becomes a servant at the vicarage for the Reverend Jonathan Cameron, Verney’s father.

Lieutenant Cameron's Welcome Home by Charles West Cope (1877), © Shoreham Church. Cameron and Jacko can be seen in a carriage being pulled by the people of the village.
Lieutenant Cameron's Welcome Home by Charles West Cope (1877), © Shoreham Church. Cameron and Jacko can be seen in a carriage being pulled by the people of the village.

1876

Verney Lovett Cameron returns from Africa

Verney Lovett Cameron returns home to Shoreham with his servant John Stanboul, known as ‘Jacko’, from central Africa. They bring back various plants and animals for research, including a porcupine and a monkey. 

Cameron had been sent by the Royal Geographic Society to help the explorer and missionary David Livingstone. After discovering that Livingstone had died, he continued travelling across Africa, recording his three year journey. 

In Shoreham, Jacko becomes a servant at the vicarage for the Reverend Jonathan Cameron, Verney’s father.

Cobden Road School (c.1900)
Cobden Road School (c.1900)

1877

School for the working classes

Cobden Road School is built for the children living in the Hartsland area, one of several Board Schools built in the area after the 1870 Education Act. These were the first state run schools.

Cobden Road School (c.1900)
Cobden Road School (c.1900)

1877

School for the working classes

Cobden Road School is built for the children living in the Hartsland area, one of several Board Schools built in the area after the 1870 Education Act. These were the first state run schools.

Drawing of Lime Tree Walk workmen's cottages by Thomas Jackson
Drawing of Lime Tree Walk workmen's cottages by Thomas Jackson

1879

Lime Tree Walk

Architect Thomas Jackson and his father buy land in the town centre to build Lime Tree Walk, a small working class community of 24 cottages. 

He recorded, ‘I had tried to make them beautiful… with a kind of simple grace which comes from plain sensible construction’.

Drawing of Lime Tree Walk workmen's cottages by Thomas Jackson
Drawing of Lime Tree Walk workmen's cottages by Thomas Jackson

1879

Lime Tree Walk

Architect Thomas Jackson and his father buy land in the town centre to build Lime Tree Walk, a small working class community of 24 cottages. 

He recorded, ‘I had tried to make them beautiful… with a kind of simple grace which comes from plain sensible construction’.

Salmon postcard showing the Salmon shop on Sevenoaks High Street, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Salmon postcard showing the Salmon shop on Sevenoaks High Street, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1880

J. Salmon Printers

Salmon printers is established at 85 High Street in Sevenoaks by London bookseller Joseph Salmon. 

Early pioneers of postcard printing, they often worked with local artists to produce pictorial colour postcards  and guide books of Knole, Sevenoaks and other locations in Kent.

Salmon printers composing room (1899)
Salmon printers composing room (1899)
Salmon postcard showing the Salmon shop on Sevenoaks High Street, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Salmon postcard showing the Salmon shop on Sevenoaks High Street, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1880

J. Salmon Printers

Salmon printers is established at 85 High Street in Sevenoaks by London bookseller Joseph Salmon. 

Early pioneers of postcard printing, they often worked with local artists to produce pictorial colour postcards  and guide books of Knole, Sevenoaks and other locations in Kent.

Salmon printers composing room (1899)
Salmon printers composing room (1899)
Charles Essenhigh Corke's photography studio in Sevenoaks
Charles Essenhigh Corke's photography studio in Sevenoaks

1881

Charles Essenhigh Corke

Sevenoaks painter and photographer Charles Essenhigh Corke establishes his photography studio. 

His children Henry and Beatrice went on to run the family business as accomplished photographers themselves, after Charles’s retirement.

Salmon postcard of Knole, illustrated by Charles Essenhigh Corke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Salmon postcard of Knole, illustrated by Charles Essenhigh Corke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Charles Essenhigh Corke's photography studio in Sevenoaks
Charles Essenhigh Corke's photography studio in Sevenoaks

1881

Charles Essenhigh Corke

Sevenoaks painter and photographer Charles Essenhigh Corke establishes his photography studio. 

His children Henry and Beatrice went on to run the family business as accomplished photographers themselves, after Charles’s retirement.

Salmon postcard of Knole, illustrated by Charles Essenhigh Corke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Salmon postcard of Knole, illustrated by Charles Essenhigh Corke, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Sign from the office of the Sevenoaks Chronicle, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Sign from the office of the Sevenoaks Chronicle, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1881

Sevenoaks Chronicle

The first issue of the Sevenoaks Chronicle newspaper is printed. 

Sign from the office of the Sevenoaks Chronicle, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Sign from the office of the Sevenoaks Chronicle, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1881

Sevenoaks Chronicle

The first issue of the Sevenoaks Chronicle newspaper is printed. 

1882

Progress for public health

A main drainage system for waste removal is introduced in Sevenoaks. 

This was thanks to the tireless efforts of James German. He successfully argued the benefits of a modern sanitation system, despite the difficulty in getting support from rate paying landowners who already had their own private drainage systems.

Before this, privies, and soil pits had to be regularly cleaned, and waste water lay on the surface, resulting in bad smells and disease. In the years after, improved health could be seen in the fall in death and infant mortality rates.

1882

Progress for public health

A main drainage system for waste removal is introduced in Sevenoaks. 

This was thanks to the tireless efforts of James German. He successfully argued the benefits of a modern sanitation system, despite the difficulty in getting support from rate paying landowners who already had their own private drainage systems.

Before this, privies, and soil pits had to be regularly cleaned, and waste water lay on the surface, resulting in bad smells and disease. In the years after, improved health could be seen in the fall in death and infant mortality rates.

Kent Band of Hope Union certificate (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Kent Band of Hope Union certificate (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1882

Temperance and the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is established in Sevenoaks. A mob greets the officers at Tub’s Hill Station to hurl abuse and rubbish at them as they march to the Baptist church in the town centre. Local publicans and brewers opposed the Salvation Army because it campaigned against alcoholic excess.

Another temperance organisation, the Band of Hope Union, had gained around 1 million members by this time. The Band of Hope Union was set up by a Baptist minister to teach children about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Sevenoaks Salvation Army Man
Sevenoaks Salvation Army man

1882

Temperance and the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is established in Sevenoaks. A mob greets the officers at Tub’s Hill Station to hurl abuse and rubbish at them as they march to the Baptist church in the town centre. Local publicans and brewers opposed the Salvation Army because it campaigned against alcoholic excess.

Another temperance organisation, the Band of Hope Union, had gained around 1 million members by this time. The Band of Hope Union was set up by a Baptist minister to teach children about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

Sevenoaks Salvation Army Man
Sevenoaks Salvation Army man
Kent Band of Hope Union certificate (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Kent Band of Hope Union certificate (1934), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Receipt for Walthamstow Hall school fees (1922), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Receipt for Walthamstow Hall school fees (1922), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1882

Walthamstow Hall

The largest single structure in Sevenoaks is built, a red brick building to house a school for the daughters of missionaries. The school had moved from a London suburb, giving it its name of Walthamstow Hall.

Walthamstow Hall postcard (c.1900)
Walthamstow Hall postcard (c.1900)
Receipt for Walthamstow Hall school fees (1922), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Receipt for Walthamstow Hall school fees (1922), © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1882

Walthamstow Hall

The largest single structure in Sevenoaks is built, a red brick building to house a school for the daughters of missionaries. The school had moved from a London suburb, giving it its name of Walthamstow Hall.

Walthamstow Hall postcard (c.1900)
Walthamstow Hall postcard (c.1900)
Fire brigade helmet, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Library
Fire brigade helmet, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Library
1883

The Sevenoaks Readies

The Fire Engine Association buys a new horse drawn engine called ‘The Ready’, and they change their name to ‘The Ready Volunteer Fire Brigade’.

The Ready Fire Brigade on engine pulled by two horses
The Ready Fire Brigade on engine pulled by two horses
Fire brigade helmet, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Library
Fire brigade helmet, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Library
1883

The Sevenoaks Readies

The Fire Engine Association buys a new horse drawn engine called ‘The Ready’, and they change their name to ‘The Ready Volunteer Fire Brigade’.

The Ready Fire Brigade on engine pulled by two horses
The Ready Fire Brigade on engine pulled by two horses
Sevenoaks Football Club in 1901, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Sevenoaks Football Club in 1901, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1883

Sevenoaks Football Club founded

Sevenoaks Football Club in 1901, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Sevenoaks Football Club in 1901, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum

1883

Sevenoaks Football Club founded

Cartoon of obstructions being removed at Knole Park, Penny Pictorial News 28 June 1884
Cartoon of obstructions being removed at Knole Park, Penny Pictorial News 28 June 1884
1884

The townspeople vs Lord Sackville

Lord Mortimer Sackville imposes new regulations on public access through Knole Park. Infuriated locals from all social backgrounds break into the grounds and remove the obstructions. 

At the bonfire night celebrations, the Guy is an effigy of Mortimer Sackville.

Model of the gate destroyed in the siege, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Model of the gate destroyed in the siege, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Cartoon of obstructions being removed at Knole Park, Penny Pictorial News 28 June 1884
Cartoon of obstructions being removed at Knole Park, Penny Pictorial News 28 June 1884
1884

The townspeople vs Lord Sackville

Lord Mortimer Sackville imposes new regulations on public access through Knole Park. Infuriated locals from all social backgrounds break into the grounds and remove the obstructions. 

At the bonfire night celebrations, the Guy is an effigy of Mortimer Sackville.

Model of the gate destroyed in the siege, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum
Model of the gate destroyed in the siege, © Kent County Council Sevenoaks Museum