Blue Plaque scheme


On Saturday 9 September 2017 Wateringbury unveiled Blue Plaques to celebrate 7 people with village connections whose lives have helped shape our world.

Approximately 80 people, including the Mayor of Tonbridge & Malling Councillor Roger Dalton, Mrs. Chasey Crawford-Usher head teacher of Wateringbury school, and  Rev Nick Williams, together with several dogs interested in local history, gathered at the South Entrance to Wateringbury Place where Lucy Williamson unveiled the plaque to her great (x 4) grandfather, Matthias Prime Lucas, owner of Wateringbury Place and Lord Mayor of London in 1827. 

Walkers then progressed along the Tonbridge Road to Cross House, next to the Post Office, which was the birthplace in 1807 of John Beal Jude, founder of The Kent Brewery.  His great (x3) grandson Thomas, who was brought up in the village, spoke of his life and unveiled his plaque.

The next stop was at the oldest house in the village, The Wardens, just off Bow Road, where in 1833  Ralph Fremlin, founder of Fremlin’s Brewery, Maidstone was born.  The mayor unveiled this plaque telling of Ralph’s life and his own boyhood memories of the area.

At The Beck, Mill Lane, about 20 more joined the walkers.  Frances English, representing the Royal British Legion Village, spoke of the career of Admiral Sir Henry Ruthven Moore, and her mother-in-law Elizabeth English recounted the part the Admiral had played in introducing her to her husband Mark.

Opposite, at The Thatched House, Richard Tripp, chairman of Wateringbury Parish Council,  told of the Koh i Noor diamond and the part played in its story by Lady Lena Login, before unveiling the plaque

The last stop of the morning was at The Red House for the plaque commemorating Dame Ellen Terry who celebrated her 80th Birthday there.  Rick Schembri, of Wateringbury Players, read the tribute written to Dame Ellen by Oscar Wilde and Olivia Curtis of the Kent Acting Studio, recited a Shakespeare Sonnet on Love.  In 1928 two girls from the school took a basket of primroses to the house as a birthday gift for Dame Ellen.  On Saturday Martha Bowie and Catherine Stockham, pupils at the school, presented a basket of flowers to the present owner’s mother. 

The walk ended at the church where many enjoyed refreshments and browsed the history displays.  The unveilings concluded  at 3 p.m. when  Professor John Zarnecki, President of the Royal Astronomical Society, and nearly 40 visitors walked down Mill Lane to Brooms Down, joining a group already gathered there. The Professor outlined the many achievements of William Rutter Dawes who while living in the village independently discovered the interior dark inner ring of Saturn in 1850. He referred to the Cassini Mission to Saturn, scheduled to end a few days after the walk. 

Each person on a blue plaque has a short (200 words) biography as a sub-page to this one. These are linked to the QR code on each plaque enabling those at the plaque with a mobile and a QR reader app to access the related biography. These bios are aimed to be an easy to read summary from a mobile but more information on each person can be obtained by entering their name in the search box of this site (on each page at top right).

Thanks is due to all who attended and many others, particularly the West Malling Blue Plaque Project team. Thanks is also due to the owners of the houses for giving their permission and to Wateringbury Parish Council for their support. The signs were made by Maidstone Signs Ltd. Half of the cost was met by Rostrum, the village magazine. 

The Society hopes the circular walk of about 1 mile will be enjoyed by many present-day residents and visitors to the village.