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YOU ARE HERE > COMMUNITY > STORIES & EVENTS > The Edenbridge Older Lifestyles Group
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The Edenbridge Older Lifestyles Group

 

Memories of Edenbridge

 

The Edenbridge Older Lifestyles Group meets regularly at the Edenbridge Centre; the group is very relaxed and friendly. On the day I visited there was around 30 members present. Everybody was greeted with a cup of tea or coffee and were soon chatting happily to each other.

 
   

Daphne Bassett

 

Daphne grew up in Chiddingstone and remembers the dog fights over the village during the Battle of Britain. She was picking potatoes in the fields, and during the battles everybody would all use an underground shelter at the farm. Eventually she was evacuated to Dawlish.  Daphne said, “I didn’t want to come back, I stayed with a lovely young couple.” Daphne also remembers the army being billeted at Chiddingstone Castle, probably the Royal West Kent Regiment. She recalls a tragic event when a soldier drowned in the castle lake after going for a swim. 

   

Evelyn Bradford

 

Evelyn’s recollections regarded the floods of September 1968.

 

At the time Evelyn lived in a downstairs flat on Lingfield Road. She recalls, “The flood water arrived early in the morning and I was up to my armpits in water!”

There was no official help; so local people helped each other, with a local’s boat being used to evacuate the older people to the W.I. hall.

Most of the flooding occurred in the south end of the town, and the waters had receded by the next day. Evelyn clearly remembered all of the furniture and televisions floating down the high street!
   

Stan Wotton

 

Stan also remembered the floods of 1968.

 

Stan remembers how much cleaning up was involved; at the time Stan was a member of the British Legion. He said, “Most of us were working full time, so we would do what we could after work.” He clearly remembers the clean up was going on for at least a month after the floods. The Old Eden pub, which was at that time known as The Old House at Home was badly affected, and in fact two properties next door were pulled down because of
the damage.

   

 

 

Freda Day & Eileen Clare

 

86 year old twins Freda Day & Eileen Clare talked about the cinema, which was in the town.

 

During the Second World War, Freda worked at the Negresco Cinema in the high street. The cinema was were the Chevertons showroom is today. Freda recalls, “Mrs Batt owned the cinema at the time, one of my jobs was to make sure that all the doors were opened if there was an air-raid

warning.” Freda’s sister Eileen remembers the Canadian soldiers who would come to the cinema.

Freda met her husband at the cinema and Eileen remembers courting at the cinema! Eileen was in the ATS during the war and the cinema offered a great escape, with Hollywood films being particularly popular. “A front row seat cost three pence, but the back row seats were more popular.” She said. 

 

These recollections are a wonderful insight into life in Edenbridge over the years, many thanks to all the people who shared their memories with me.

 

For more information about the group contact Hayley Brooks at Sevenoaks District Council on 01732 227000 or e-mail community.development@sevenoaks.gov.uk

 

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