Colonel Stephens and Tonbridge, Kent

A very short article in “The Colonel”, the quarterly journal of the Colonel Stephens Society reminded me of something that I have known for a time but about which I had not really made the connection with my family history. The short article by Tom Burnham was really little more than a note to go with scanned images from the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser of Friday 6th April 1928. [1]The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser – Friday 6th April 1928 – source British Newspaper Archive. [2]

My grandparent’s house in 2020, very little different from what I remember it back in 1970, (Google Streetview).

My maternal grandparents, Arthur and Ivy Norton, had their first and last homes in Tonbridge, and only a short distance from Salford Terrace. I remember visiting my maternal grandmother as a child and on one occasions staying with her when my father changed his employment from Hull, East Yorkshire to Chelmsford, Essex and we had to give up our house in Hull 6 weeks or so before our new house in Braintree, Essex was completed and ready for us to live in. For one summer, Mum and the 4 of us who were children lived on 22, Meadow Road in Tonbridge.

The area immediately South of Tonbridge Railway Station was developed in the late 19th Century. With housing to the East of the A21/A26 and Waterloo Road following in the first quarter of the 20th Century. The first OS Map below shows the area at the end of the 19th Century (the mapping dates from 1895). The second OS Map was published in 1960 with mapping dating from 1958.

Tonbridge Railway Station and Tonbridge’s Southern quarter in 1895. [3]

Salford Terrace and Meadow Road – mapping dating from 1958. [4]

The location of Ashby House, 1, Priory Road in 2019, (Google Streetview).

Salford Terrace in 2019, (Google Streetview)

Stephens’ Offices in 2008 (c) Tony Mortlock. [5]

Colonel Stephens rented rooms for both his home and his office at Ashby House, 1, Priory Road in Tonbridge, close to Quarry Hill Road. As his business developed, he took out a lease on an office on the opposite side of Quarry Hill Road at 23, Salford Terrace, in 1900. The rooms in Ashby House and the offices in Salford Terrace were his permanent base throughout his life. [5] The premises in Salford Terrace are still in use, they were towards the South end of the Terrace. Ashby House is long-gone.

The property where his offices were based in Salford Terrace is one of the few premises that have not been extended towards the street. Little has changed in the outward appearance of Salford Terrace since Colonel Stephens’ day. Little more than the change of shop names and their name panels.

Stephen’s offices in 2019! (Google Streetview).


  1. Tom Burnham; The Colonel; published by the Colonel Stephens Society, Volume 140, p18.
  2. The Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser – Friday 6th April 1928 – source British Newspaper Archive, accessed on 28th August 2020.
  3., accessed on 28th August 2020.
  4., accessed on 28th August 2020.
  5., accessed on 12th September 2020.

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