SNIPPETS from the 1900s

Capel in the Edwardian era as reported in the local newspapers...

April 1900 - CAPEL: The Infectious Hospital 

We learn with satisfaction that the Infectious Hospital* at Capel is entirely free from all patients, and no cases have now been admitted for over two months. The population of the district is nearly 20,000, and the entire absence of infectious cases in such a largely populated district is most encouraging.

*A hospital in Sychem Lane on the site of the houses in Redwood Close. It was open from the 1880s to the 1960s, and at one time treated up to 70 people infected with scarlet fever, enteric fever or diphtheria. Most of the patients were children, who were kept in isolation for several weeks.

March 1901 - A STRANGE BET

At the annual Parish Council meeting for the parish, Mr W. Pemble, Tattlingbury Farm, argued with Rev W. R. Holman, of Capel Grange, that if there was a fire engine on his farm, which was about the middle of the parish, the firemen would be a long time before they could get to Five Oak Green. The Rev. gentleman offered, if he lost, to give a new cricket set to the boys of the Boys' School. This was accepted, and the event was witnessed with great interest on Tuesday evening last. The Reverend's sprinter started at the appointed time and ran the distance with a good time to spare, and Mr W. Pemble has since been investigating where he can get the best set of cricket tackle.


Luke Homewood, a labourer, of Five Oak Green, Capel; Frederick Pocock, Edward Hughes, Charles Fenner, William Godamark and Arthur Puttock, all of Southborough, were summoned for not sending their children regularly to school. Mrs Pocock said the boy in question was their nephew and was 13 years of age. Mr Bellingham said the boy had not been to school since the defendant was last summoned. He fined defendant 10s (about £40 today) and costs, or seven days. Mrs Pocock: "I shan't pay. I shall leave the boy with you, as we are not compelled to keep him." The Clerk: "The Bench have not fined you, but your husband. If he does not pay there will be a distress on his goods, and in default he will go to prison for seven days." On attempting to speak again the witness was told to go away and left the Court evidently very displeased. In the other cases attendance orders were made.

September 1901 - A STUPID FELLOW

Samuel Broad, a hopper, was charged with attempting to commit suicide* at Capel, on the 23rd September. The evidence went to show that the accused threatened to jump into a pond near the Chequers Inn, Tudeley, but was prevented from doing so. P.C. Manwaring was called in, and the man, who was excited because of his wife having left him, stated that he meant to do it, so the constable took him into custody. At the police station he stated to Supt. Styles that he would do it. The Bench committed accused for trial at the Quarter Sessions.  

*Attempting to commit suicide was a criminal offence until The Suicide Act was passed in 1961

October 1901 - Job Vacancies

WANTED a good strong General Servant; one who can wash and iron well, and willing to make herself useful. Wages £18, rising £1 a year to £22*, and uniform value £3. Apply, Matron, Capel Hospital, Tonbridge. 656 * Around £1700 p.a. today

YOUNG Lady requires Situation: Lady Help in any business house; domesticated; musical. Address, S., Crockhurst Street Farm, Capel, near Tonbridge. 536

January 1902 - FIVE OAK GREEN: Balloon Descent - On Saturday last the balloon, "City of York," descended in a meadow, near the Moat Farm. The occupants of the balloon, who had come from London, were Messrs P. and S. Spencer, Buckland, and Descin. Afterwards ballast was thrown out, and an ascent was made in the direction of Tunbridge Wells.


Capel Social Club's closing concert of the season took place on Wednesday evening under very auspicious circumstances. Although the exigencies of country life usually detract attendance at this time of the year from indoor gatherings, the audience was a very satisfactory one.

The club, having now had an existence of three months,and its finances being flourishing, it has been decided to keep it permanently open throughout the year for the convenience of members.
The programme was a very elaborate one and among the gentlemen who contributed to its success may be mentioned Mr. King who contributed two songs, including "Ora Pro Nobis."

Both were encored and also much appreciated were Mr. Sinden with a cornet solo of "The Lost Chord," Mr. Pool's reading entitled "A Change of Treatment," and Miss Looker's recitation of some verse with much pathos.

The proceedings were brought to a close with a hearty rendering of "God save the King."