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May 2023


After a very long cold and wet winter, we have now starting our transcription work again, and are busy working on new sections, as well as completing some of the unfinished sections. We have 2 new members which is exciting news as there is still a lot of transcribing to do.


During the winter months we researched some of the more interesting memorials and their inhabitants. The stories have been put on the website here.


We have also been very busy researching for our next publication in October which will coincide with the 150th anniversary of the formation of the cemetery. This will be a history from its beginnings in 1873 (and just before when it was first decided the town needed a new place to bury its dead) up to more recent times. Visits to the archives in The Amelia have uncovered some interesting stories, many of which will find their way into the book.


The theme for Heritage Open Days this year is Creativity Unwrapped. The cemetery was, and still is brimming with creativity – in the lives of some of the artists, sculptors, writers and entertainers, and also in some of the more unusual headstones.


December 2022


The cold weather put a stop to any recording this month, so it has been a good opportunity to do some research into names we have found. One tragic case we found was of a family of 6 who all died within 20 years of each other – the parents being only 40 and the 4 sons aged between 13 and 25. Read the full story of the Corlett family here.


Also Eric Hatchell, who died aged 15 at Lancing College after cutting his hand during a practical chemistry experiment.


Further news on George Abbott’s grave. The trees have now been removed by the Parks Department, and the grave is now more visible. When the weather improves a bit more we will see if we can find the rest of the inscription.


October 2022


Our wonderful mausoleum is looking a bit sad as weeds are growing out of the cracks in the marble. Some years ago the stained glass window was vandalised and is now covered with a perspex screen and grid. The key to the bronze door has been lost.


We have appointed a heritage surveyor to advise us on the way forward. Ideally we need to gain access through the door which would need a locksmith to manufacture a new key. If this does not work there may be other options.


We have continued to transcribe and research more graves. About 6,000 have been done so far. We are always looking for more volunteers to join us in this interesting work.


September 2022


We had a busy month in September. Heritage Open Days saw the launch of our new publication, 'The Worthies of Tunbridge Wells as photographed by Henry Peach Robinson'. Carol gave a stimulating talk about some of these men and we had an exhibition in the Friends chapel.


Later in the month saw the celebration of Battle of Britain day


We have done a bit more work on George Abbott’s grave and discovered a little more of the wording. On the right hand side it reads ‘Teacher, Lover of the Child’s Mind’. George was passionate about promoting the study of nature to children. Still a lot of work to do to read the rest of the inscription and to make sense of the rock formations placed on his grave.


We are now going to concentrate on working on the history of the cemetery as next year it will be the 150th anniversary of its opening. This will be a major work. If anyone has any old photos or records connected with the cemetery, we would love to hear from you.


August 2022

It has been all go preparing for our Heritage Open Day publication and exhibition - The Worthies of Tunbridge Wells who were chosen by Henry Peach Robinson to be photographed in Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Year 1887. Henry Peach Robinson was a nationally and internationally accredited photographer who lived in Tunbridge Wells for about 20 years and is himself buried in the cemetery.


The booklets we have produced for this event are now with the printers and we look forward to welcoming many people to our presentation on Saturday 10th September and exhibition on Saturday and Sunday 10th and 11th.


It has been fascinating researching these people. Of the 150 photographed, 70 are buried in the cemetery but the Memorial Inscriptions Group have concentrated on 27 of these with interesting stories to tell. We have the founders of 2 well known stores, Waymarks and Weekes, a Tunbridge Ware manufacturer, 2 Mayors, 2 Schoolmasters, a Station Master, the Superintendent of the Police, the Captain of the Fire Brigade, the creator of The Courier and many more from all walks of life.


Whilst looking for the graves of these Worthies, one of our most interesting finds was that of George Abbott, a surgeon and geologist. He founded the first museum in Tunbridge Wells and many of his geological finds are on display in The Amelia. Although we knew roughly where his grave was sited, it was overgrown with brambles and a tree had grown through the middle. The only clue to it being the correct grave was the wording on the base kerb, which read ‘Surgeon, Geologist’. We will be going back armed with thick gloves and secateurs to discover the rest of the wording. Please get in touch if you fancy helping to discover more about this interesting grave










If you are interested in getting involved with the work of the Memorial Inscriptions Group, or becoming a Friend of the Cemetery, please contact us

B15 98 Abbott.JPG
B15 98 Abbott grave wording.JPG
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