Tonbridge is a market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 in the English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 county of Kent
Kent is a county in southeast England, and is one of the home counties. It borders East Sussex, Surrey and Greater London and has a defined boundary with Essex in the middle of the Thames Estuary. The ceremonial county boundaries of Kent include the shire county of Kent and the unitary borough of...

, with a population of 30,340 in 2007. It is located on the River Medway
River Medway
The River Medway, which is almost entirely in Kent, England, flows for from just inside the West Sussex border to the point where it enters the Thames Estuary....

, approximately 4 miles north of Tunbridge Wells
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Royal Tunbridge Wells is a town in west Kent, England, about south-east of central London by road, by rail. The town is close to the border of the county of East Sussex...

, 12 miles south west of Maidstone
Maidstone is the county town of Kent, England, south-east of London. The River Medway runs through the centre of the town linking Maidstone to Rochester and the Thames Estuary. Historically, the river was a source and route for much of the town's trade. Maidstone was the centre of the agricultural...

 and 29 miles south east of London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. It belongs to the administrative borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

 of Tonbridge and Malling
Tonbridge and Malling
Tonbridge and Malling is a local government district and borough in the English county of Kent.Tonbridge and Malling borough covers an area from the North Downs at Burham and Snodland in the north to the town of Tonbridge in the south...

 (population 107,560 in 2001).


The town was recorded in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 1087 as Tonebrige, which may indicate a bridge belonging to the estate or manor (from the Old English tun), or alternatively a bridge belonging to Tunna, a common Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 man's name. Another theory suggests that the name is a contraction of "town of bridges", due to the large number of streams the High Street originally crossed.

Until 1870, the town's name was actually spelt Tunbridge, as shown on old maps including the 1871 Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...

 map and contemporary issues of the Bradshaw
George Bradshaw
George Bradshaw was an English cartographer, printer and publisher. He is best known for developing the most successful and longest published series of combined railway timetables.-Biography:...

 railway guide. In 1870, this was changed to Tonbridge by the GPO due to confusion with nearby Tunbridge Wells, despite Tonbridge being a much older settlement. Tunbridge Wells has always maintained the same spelling.

Normans and Tonbridge Castle

Tonbridge stands on spur of higher land where the marshy River Medway
River Medway
The River Medway, which is almost entirely in Kent, England, flows for from just inside the West Sussex border to the point where it enters the Thames Estuary....

 could be more easily forded. Ancient trackways converged at this point. There is no record of any bridge before 1191. For much of its existence, the town remained to the north of the river, since the land to the south was subject to extensive seasonal flooding. One part of the town is called 'Dryhill'. Richard Fitz Gilbert de Clare founded the Priory of St Mary Magdalene
Tonbridge Priory
Tonbridge Priory was a priory in Tonbridge, Kent, England that was established in 1124. It was destroyed by fire in 1337 and then rebuilt. The priory was disestablished in 1523. The building stood in 1735, but was a ruin by 1780...

 in 1124.

A castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

 was built here in the 11th century by Richard Fitz Gilbert
Richard Fitz Gilbert
Richard fitz Gilbert , was a Norman lord who participated in the Norman conquest of England in 1066. He was also known as "de Bienfaite", "de Clare", and "de Tonbridge".-Biography:...

, a half brother of William the Conqueror
William I of England
William I , also known as William the Conqueror , was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II...

. Richard was responsible for governing England in William I's many absences.

The town was besieged by William Rufus, soon after his accession to the throne, because the Earl had pledged allegiance to William's brother, Robert. It is thus hardly surprising that the arrow that killed William Rufus a few years later in the New Forest was fired by Walter Tirel
Walter Tirel
Walter Tirel III - also spelt Tyrell, Thurold, Turold; French Gaultier or Gautier Tirel , was an Anglo-Norman nobleman. He is infamous for his involvement in the death of King William II of England, also known as William Rufus....

 who was born in town as well as the Earl's in-law.

It was soon afterwards taken again, this time by King John
John of England
John , also known as John Lackland , was King of England from 6 April 1199 until his death...

 only a few months after the signing of the Magna Carta
Magna Carta
Magna Carta is an English charter, originally issued in the year 1215 and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions, which included the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority to date. The charter first passed into law in 1225...

. Both the Earl and his son were signatories and guardians of the document responsible for its compliance. It was subsequently besieged by Prince Edward, son of Henry III
Henry III of England
Henry III was the son and successor of John as King of England, reigning for 56 years from 1216 until his death. His contemporaries knew him as Henry of Winchester. He was the first child king in England since the reign of Æthelred the Unready...

. On this occasion the besieged garrison burnt the town rather than see it fall. The town and Tonbridge Castle
Tonbridge Castle
Tonbridge Castle is situated in the town of the same name, Kent, England.-Early history:Following the Norman Conquest, Richard Fitz Gilbert was granted land in Kent to guard the crossing of the River Medway. He erected a simple Motte-and-bailey castle on the site. To dig the moat and erect the...

 were rebuilt after this and in the 13th century became an official residence and records repository of Edward II
Edward II of England
Edward II , called Edward of Caernarfon, was King of England from 1307 until he was deposed by his wife Isabella in January 1327. He was the sixth Plantagenet king, in a line that began with the reign of Henry II...


The castle was finally taken by Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 when its owner, the Duke of Buckingham, was executed for treason.


At this time, Tonbridge was considered an important strategic settlement. The King intended it to be a medieval walled town and a charter was issued allowing for walls to be built, a market to be held, court sessions to be held and two members of the town to attend parliament. Walls were never built however, probably because the castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

's large outer bailey
Ward (fortification)
In fortifications, a bailey or ward refers to a courtyard enclosed by a curtain wall. In particular, an early type of European castle was known as a Motte-and-bailey. Castles can have more than one ward. Their layout depends both on the local topography and the level of fortification technology...

 could have easily accommodated the town's populace in times of strife. A surrounding bank and ditch known as The Fosse was erected. Today only traces of this encircling defence now remain. The historic core of the town still contains a large number of working buildings dating from the 15th century; the oldest being Portreeves on East Street.

Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School is a British boys' independent school for both boarding and day pupils in Tonbridge, Kent, founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judd . It is a member of the Eton Group, and has close links with the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest London livery companies...

, the famous public school, was set up in 1552 under the letters patent of Edward VI, to educate the male children of locals gentry and farmers (there was already a nearby school in existence for poorer boys, now Sevenoaks School
Sevenoaks School
Sevenoaks School is an English coeducational independent school located in the town of Sevenoaks, Kent. It is the oldest lay school in the United Kingdom, dating back to 1432. Almost 1,000 day pupils and boarders attend, ranging in age from 11 to 18 years. There are approximately equal numbers of...


During Queen Mary's reign Tonbridge was involved in an unsuccessful uprising against the Queen's marriage to the King of Spain resulting in 500 people of the town being involved at the Battle of Hartley in 1554. As a result of the deffiant action it is not surprising the town did escape being chosen for a place of execution for a number of Protestants and in 1555 James Tutty and Margery Polley were burnt at the stake in the town and Joan Beach met the same fate in 1556 at Rochester. A memorial to Margery Polly's fate is to be found on the green at Pembury
Pembury is a large village in Kent, in the south east of England, with a population of around 6,000. It lies just to the north-east of Tunbridge Wells.The village centre, including the village green and High Street area is a conservation area.-History:...


17th and 18th centuries

During the Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

, the town was garrisoned by the Parliamentarian side who refortified the castle. Royalist sympathisers made several attempts to take the town but were repulsed.
In 1740 an Act of Parliament
Act of Parliament
An Act of Parliament is a statute enacted as primary legislation by a national or sub-national parliament. In the Republic of Ireland the term Act of the Oireachtas is used, and in the United States the term Act of Congress is used.In Commonwealth countries, the term is used both in a narrow...

 was passed to make the River Medway navigable to Tonbridge by the Medway Navigation
Medway Navigation
The River Medway in England flows for from Turners Hill, in West Sussex, through Tonbridge, Maidstone and the Medway Towns conurbation in Kent, to the River Thames at Sheerness, where it shares the latter's estuary. The Medway Navigation runs from the Leigh Barrier south of Tonbridge to Allington...

 Company, allowing such materials as coal and lime to be transported to the town, and gunpowder, hops and timber to be carried downriver to Maidstone and the Thames. For a hundred years the Medway Navigation Company was highly profitable, paying out good dividends to its investors but after the arrival of the railway in 1842 the company went into a steep decline and all commercial traffic ceased in 1911 when the company collapsed. Some of the original warehouses and the wharves are still recognisable today, downstream of the town's main bridge.

Later, the town and its surroundings became famous for the production of finely inlaid wooden cabinets, boxes and other objects called Tunbridgeware, which were sold to tourists who were taking the waters at the nearby springs at Tunbridge Wells. Another speciality in the town was until recently the production of cricket balls and other sports goods.

19th century to present

During the March 1880 parliamentary elections, Tonbridge was the scene of a riot. On the announcement of the results, several thousand people started to hurl stones and cobbles at each other in the High Street near the Rose and Crown Hotel. The county's Chief Constable
Chief Constable
Chief constable is the rank used by the chief police officer of every territorial police force in the United Kingdom except for the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police, as well as the chief officers of the three 'special' national police forces, the British Transport Police, Ministry...

 Captain Ruskin together with in excess of a hundred policeman charged the crowds many times during the night only to end up being the crowd's target who started hurling stones and cobbles at them instead of each other. Many people including twelve policeman were seriously injured before the crowd finally dispersed at midnight.

The United Kingdom's first speeding fine was handed down by Tonbridge petty Sessions court in 1896. The guilty driver was a Mr Walter Arnold of East Peckham
East Peckham
East Peckham is a village in Kent, England, made up of nine hamlets and situated about east of Tonbridge on the River Medway. It was the centre for the hop growing industry in Kent and is still home to the Hop Farm which has the world's largest collection of Oast Houses.-History:The Domesday entry...

 who was fined one shilling
The shilling is a unit of currency used in some current and former British Commonwealth countries. The word shilling comes from scilling, an accounting term that dates back to Anglo-Saxon times where it was deemed to be the value of a cow in Kent or a sheep elsewhere. The word is thought to derive...

 for speeding at eight miles an hour in a two mile an hour zone in Paddock Wood
Paddock Wood
Paddock Wood is a small town and civil parish in the Borough of Tunbridge Wells and county of Kent in England, about southwest of Maidstone. At the time of the 2001 census it had a population of 8,263, and is the centre for hop growing in Kent.-History:...

, in his Karl Benz
Karl Benz
Karl Friedrich Benz, was a German engine designer and car engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered car, and together with Bertha Benz pioneering founder of the automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz...

 powered car. Mr Arnold was eventually apprehended by a policeman who had given chase on his bicycle.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 a POW Camp was built on the junction of Tudeley Lane and Pembury Road on land belonging to Somerhill
The Schools at Somerhill
The Schools at Somerhill is the title given to a group of schools located in Somerhill House, a Jacobean mansion situated to the south east of Tonbridge in Kent, England, but lying with the parish of Tudeley-cum-Capel. The three schools are Yardley Court, Derwent Lodge and Somerhill Pre-Prep...

. It was used to house both German pilots who had been shot down, and also captured Italian soldiers. After the war the camp was used as temporary housing for people made homeless by the Blitz
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

. The site is now occupied by the Weald of Kent Girls' Grammar School.

Ruth Ellis
Ruth Ellis
Ruth Ellis , née Neilson, was the last woman to be executed in the United Kingdom. She was convicted of the murder of her lover, David Blakely, and hanged at Holloway Prison, London, by Albert Pierrepoint.-Biography:...

, the last woman in the United Kingdom to be hanged, was married at the registry office in Tonbridge on the 8th November 1950.

Securitas depot robbery

Tonbridge was the location of the largest cash theft in British criminal history. On 22 February 2006, over £53.1 million was stolen from the Securitas cash-handling depot in Vale Road to the east of the High Street. During the following police investigation, around half of the money was recovered. On 28 January 2008 five people were convicted at the Old Bailey
Old Bailey
The Central Criminal Court in England and Wales, commonly known as the Old Bailey from the street in which it stands, is a court building in central London, one of a number of buildings housing the Crown Court...



Tonbridge is in the parliamentary constituency of Tonbridge and Malling
Tonbridge and Malling (UK Parliament constituency)
Tonbridge and Malling is a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.It was created in 1974 from parts of the seats of Sevenoaks & Tonbridge...

. Since the constituency's creation in 1974, its Member of Parliament
Member of Parliament
A Member of Parliament is a representative of the voters to a :parliament. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, the term applies specifically to members of the lower house, as upper houses often have a different title, such as senate, and thus also have different titles for its members,...

 has been Sir John Stanley of the Conservative Party
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

. The town is within the local government district of Tonbridge and Malling
Tonbridge and Malling
Tonbridge and Malling is a local government district and borough in the English county of Kent.Tonbridge and Malling borough covers an area from the North Downs at Burham and Snodland in the north to the town of Tonbridge in the south...

, and is divided into the seven local government wards of Cage Green, Castle, Higham, Judd, Medway, Trench and Vauxhall. These wards have 15 of the 53 seats on the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council. As of November 2007, all 15 of these seats were held by the Conservative Party. Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council is the second level local authority for the Borough of Tonbridge and Malling in Kent, United Kingdom.-History:...

 is responsible for running local services, such as recreation, refuse collection and council housing
Council house
A council house, otherwise known as a local authority house, is a form of public or social housing. The term is used primarily in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. Council houses were built and operated by local councils to supply uncrowded, well-built homes on secure tenancies at...

; while Kent County Council
Kent County Council
Kent County Council is the county council that governs the majority of the county of Kent in England. It provides the upper tier of local government, below which are 12 district councils, and around 300 town and parish councils. The county council has 84 elected councillors...

 is responsible for education, social services and trading standards. Both councils are involved in town planning and road maintenance.


Major industries include light engineering, printing and publishing, distribution and financial services. Tonbridge together with its neighbour has been designated by the South East Assembly as a Regional Hub.

The town has largely retained its 'market town' atmosphere and has many attractions to visitors and residents alike, including the well-maintained Castle Gatehouse, a large country park and activities based around the river. Sports facilities including an indoor/outdoor swimming pool
Tonbridge Swimming Pool
Tonbridge Swimming Pool is a swimming pool in Tonbridge, Kent. It has an indoor pool joined to an outdoor pool or lido linked by a swim-through channel.- Description :The four lane, 20 metre open air pool has a ‘beach’ and a large sunbathing terrace...

, a leisure centre and a large sportsground are all located close to the town centre. Many of the facilities are provided or subsidised by the local authority.

Most of the town's shopping facilities are concentrated on The High Street, which runs for about one mile through the town centre. There has been increasing criticism from local residents that there is a relative abundance of restaurants, estate agents, banks and 'cheap' shops, and a lack of major high street retailers. However, there are far fewer empty high street premises than in the mid-1990s reflecting the town's increasing prosperity. The town does inevitably suffer from its proximity to large shopping centres such as Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone and Bluewater. The Borough Council has published proposals to improve the town's shopping and leisure facilities.

During the early 20th Century Tonbridge became the ‘South East Hub’ for Plastic Moulding / Engineering and Printing with many well know companies such as The Crystalate Gramophone Record Company who claimed to be the oldest record producer in Britain who later bought out The Vocalion Gramophone Company in 1932 when the principal labels included Rex, Nine-Inch Broadcast, and Ten-Inch Broadcast. From the early postwar years, Crystalate was very much involved in producing the 1 mini-disc', some of which were sold in Marks & Spencers, Woolworths and probably other stores for sixpence [21/2p] each between 1930 and 1937, with labels such as Crown, Embassy and Eclipse. In 1937, Crystalate was absorbed in Decca which itself was purchased by Polygram (Philips). To this date there still remains a manufacturing presence within Tonbridge, with Enalon Limited founded in 1946 being last remaining plastic moulder and toolmaker based within the town.
In 1999, Harvester Trust Tonbridge bought a derelict site on Medway Wharf Road, in the centre of Tonbridge – ideal for a building that would be a church, a centre for community activity and a conference centre. The £4 million building was granted planning permission in March 2000. Amazing offerings were received to make building possible and the work began in 2001. The River Centre was officially opened in January 2003 to the town and wider community, its award winning design offering adaptable, high-quality and modern facilities. Working with businesses and community organisations, The River Centre hosts a wide variety of events from product launches to awards ceremonies, as well as international church conferences.

However, the links between the founder of this organisation and Todd Bentley
Todd Bentley
Todd Bentley is a Canadian Christian evangelist. He was the key figure of the Lakeland Revival. After a brief period of retirement connected with the breakdown of his marriage and subsequent re-marriage, he has returned to ministry....

 have raised concerns for some.

The Police Station is the headquarters of the West Kent Police Division and is located on Pembury Road.

Royal Mail's TN postcode main sorting office
Sorting office
Sorting office or Processing and Distribution Center is any location where postal operators bring mail after collection for sorting into batches for delivery to the addressee, which may be a direct delivery or sent onwards to another regional or local sorting office, or to another postal...

 is located on Vale Road in the town.

Tonbridge is also the location of Carroty Wood, an outdoor activity and residential centre run by 'Barnabas Adventure Centres
Barnabas Adventure Centres
Rock UK is a national UK Christian charity which supports and encourages 40,000 young people every year. Rock UK achieves its aim ‘to provide an opportunity for young people to develop physically, socially and spiritually’ through the provision of residential and day visit opportunities for groups...

' offering groups of young people the opportunity to try out a variety of different outdoor activities.

A former oast house
Oast house
An oast, oast house or hop kiln is a building designed for kilning hops as part of the brewing process. They can be found in most hop-growing areas and are often good examples of vernacular architecture...

 on the road to Hildenborough has been converted to a small theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

, called the Oast Theatre
Oast Theatre, Tonbridge
The Oast Theatre is situated on the outskirts of Tonbridge, Kent. It is a small theatre that is based in an old oast house. It is home to the Tonbridge Theatre and Arts Club. The theatre seats 112 people.-History:...



Tonbridge railway station
Tonbridge railway station
Tonbridge railway station is a station serving the town of Tonbridge in Kent, England. It is a junction between two important commuter routes; the South Eastern Main Line serving Ashford, Ramsgate and Dover and the Hastings Main Line serving Tunbridge Wells and Hastings, as well as a branch to...

 is one of Kent's busiest with 3.8 million passengers using it each year. It is an important railway junction with lines to London, Ashford
Ashford, Kent
Ashford is a town in the borough of Ashford in Kent, England. In 2005 it was voted the fourth best place to live in the United Kingdom. It lies on the Great Stour river, the M20 motorway, and the South Eastern Main Line and High Speed 1 railways. Its agricultural market is one of the most...

, Hastings
Hastings is a town and borough in the county of East Sussex on the south coast of England. The town is located east of the county town of Lewes and south east of London, and has an estimated population of 86,900....

 and Redhill
Redhill, Surrey
Redhill is a town in the borough of Reigate and Banstead, Surrey, England and is part of the London commuter belt. Redhill and the adjacent town of Reigate form a single urban area.-History:...

. The town is also served by the A21 trunk road between London and Hastings and the A26
A26 road
For the road in Northern Ireland see A26 road The A26 road is one of the three cross-country two-digit numbered roads in the southeast of England, the others being the A25 road and A27 road. It carries traffic from Maidstone in Kent in a generally south-westerly direction to Tunbridge Wells and...

 between Maidstone and Brighton. It is also close to the M25 motorway
M25 motorway
The M25 motorway, or London Orbital, is a orbital motorway that almost encircles Greater London, England, in the United Kingdom. The motorway was first mooted early in the 20th century. A few sections, based on the now abandoned London Ringways plan, were constructed in the early 1970s and it ...


Tonbridge is served by numerous bus routes, most of which are run by Arriva Southern Counties
Arriva Southern Counties
Arriva Southern Counties is a bus operator in London, Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent and Essex in England. It is a regional division of Arriva.- History :...

. The main routes are:
  • 402 to Tunbridge Wells, Sevenoaks and Bromley
  • 7 and 77 to Tunbridge Wells, Hadlow, West Malling and Maidstone
  • 147 to Tunbridge Wells, Willow Lea, and Hadlow
  • 218 and 219: run between the town centre, Willow Lea and Cage Green

There are future proposals to dual the A21 at Castle Hill and thereby improve the connection to Tunbridge Wells and Pembury
Pembury is a large village in Kent, in the south east of England, with a population of around 6,000. It lies just to the north-east of Tunbridge Wells.The village centre, including the village green and High Street area is a conservation area.-History:...

, where a new regional hospital is being constructed.

In the years before World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, an attempt was made by aviation pioneers Frank Gooden and Richard Johnson to establish an airfield to the north of Tonbridge at Cage Green. The airfield was located at Cage Green Fields, at the top of the ridge which The Ridgeway runs up, and east of Shipbourne Road
A227 road
The A227 road in England runs from Gravesend in Kent in a generally south-south-westerly direction to Tonbridge. It is about in length.-Overview:...

. An accident is recorded as having occurred on 24 December 1913 at the airfield, although neither of Gooden or Johnson was injured. The scheme was ended by the outbreak of war.
| c.1914.


Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School
Tonbridge School is a British boys' independent school for both boarding and day pupils in Tonbridge, Kent, founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judd . It is a member of the Eton Group, and has close links with the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the oldest London livery companies...

, founded in 1553 by Sir Andrew Judde, is a major independent school
Independent school
An independent school is a school that is independent in its finances and governance; it is not dependent upon national or local government for financing its operations, nor reliant on taxpayer contributions, and is instead funded by a combination of tuition charges, gifts, and in some cases the...

 for boys, which is in the centre of the town. Most boys there are boarders, and live in the school's houses, many of which are in the town centre. The town is also home to several remaining Grammar School
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

s, including The Judd School
The Judd School
The Judd School is a state secondary school in Tonbridge, Kent, southeast England. It was established in 1888 at Stafford House on East Street in Tonbridge, where it remained for eight years before moving to its present location on Brook Street, in the south of the town...

, Weald of Kent Grammar School and Tonbridge Grammar School
Tonbridge Grammar School
Tonbridge Grammar School is a state school in Tonbridge, Kent, United Kingdom. There are approximately 1050 students ranging from 11 to 18 years. It was previously known as Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls but with the introduction of boys in the sixth form in 2002, the school changed its name...

 (formerly Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls). A number of Tonbridge's secondary schools have specialist status, including Tonbridge Grammar School for Maths and ICT, as well as Languages; Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls, a specialist school for languages and science; the Judd School for Music with English and also now Science with Maths; Hayesbrook School for boys, a specialist sports college; and Hillview School For Girls
Hillview School For Girls
Hillview School For Girls is a Performing Arts college in Tonbridge, Kent. It has an age range of students aged 11-18.Its current Head Teacher is Steven Bovey- History :...

, which has recently been awarded a Performing Arts Status. Hugh Christie Technology College
Hugh Christie Technology College
Hugh Christie Technology College is an 11-18 Technology College based in Tonbridge, Kent, England. In November 2006 the school moved into a new £20m building...

 is also renowned in the area for its IT expertise, and for allowing students to take GCSEs in year 9, rather than the usual year 11. Further and higher education is available at K College which recently has announced it will be building a new multi million pound campus. There is also a small continuing education campus of the University of Kent
University of Kent
The University of Kent, previously the University of Kent at Canterbury, is a public research university based in Kent, United Kingdom...


Tonbridge also boasts a great many primary schools including Hilden Grange School
Hilden Grange School
Hilden Grange is a coeducational preparatory school in Tonbridge, Kent, England. It caters for children from Nursery to Year 8. It has academic records at common entrance and scholarship levels. It is unusual for pupils who leave in Year 8 not to secure a place at their first place secondary...

 Slade Primary School, Sussex Road County Primary School, Long Mead Community Primary School, Cage Green Primary School, Woodlands County Junior and Infant Schools, St Stephens Primary School and St Margaret Clitherow R C Primary School. This does not include the many more in the nearby surrounding areas.


The 2007 Tour de France
Tour de France
The Tour de France is an annual bicycle race held in France and nearby countries. First staged in 1903, the race covers more than and lasts three weeks. As the best known and most prestigious of cycling's three "Grand Tours", the Tour de France attracts riders and teams from around the world. The...

 passed through the centre of Tonbridge on 8 July, as part of the first stage (London to Canterbury). The riders climbed Quarry Hill at the south of the town, a Grade 4 and first King of the Mountains
King of the Mountains
The King of the Mountains is the title given to the best climber in a cycling road race; usually and officially known as the Mountains classification...

 climb of the Tour.

Cowdrey Cricket Club, renamed from Tonbridge Printers CC (on the club's 50th anniversary in 1997) after Lord Colin Cowdrey of Tonbridge, is the town's main cricket club, boasting a thriving junior section and academy as well as two Saturday teams. The club play at the Swanmead sportsground and can be found online at
The town is also home to Tonbridge Cricket Club, founded in 1837.

Tonbridge Athletic Club which trains on the Tonbridge school track, is noted for being Kelly Holmes
Kelly Holmes
Dame Kelly Holmes, DBE, MBE is a retired British middle distance athlete. She specialised in the 800 metres and 1500 metres events and won a gold medal for both distances at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens...

' former club.

Tonbridge has its own Rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 club, Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Football club. Often referred to as TJs. The 2009/10 season saw the club's first XV win promotion and go unbeaten in the league for the second year running, they will play their rugby in 2010/11 in London 1. Last season also saw the club's 2nd XV win its league and the ladies' side gain promotion. The senior men's section of the club fields five sides plus a Vets team. The club has two girls teams (Under 15 and 18), and a thriving junior and mini section. Over the last four seasons the club's younger teams have been crowned county champions on seven occasions. During the summer months, the town has a Touch Rugby
Touch rugby
Touch rugby, Refers to games derived from rugby football in which players do not tackle in the traditional, highly physical way, but instead touch their opponents using their hands on any part of the body, clothing, or the ball....


Tonbridge has its own football team, the Tonbridge Angels who play in the Conference South
Conference South
Conference South is one of the second divisions of the Football Conference in England, taking its place immediately below the Conference National...

, and a successful canoe club that has produced a number of Olympic participants. Tonbridge also has a dinghy sailing club, the Tonbridge Town Sailing Club, which holds events at Haysden Country Park
Haysden Country Park
Haysden Country Park is a country park on the outskirts of Tonbridge, Kent, in the south-east of England.-Geography:The park comprises of countryside to the west of Tonbridge. The park has two lakes, Barden and Haysden Water, and a stretch of the River Medway running through it. The park is home...

 on the outskirts of the town.

Tonbridge Swimming Club is based at the Tonbridge swimming pool
Tonbridge Swimming Pool
Tonbridge Swimming Pool is a swimming pool in Tonbridge, Kent. It has an indoor pool joined to an outdoor pool or lido linked by a swim-through channel.- Description :The four lane, 20 metre open air pool has a ‘beach’ and a large sunbathing terrace...

 which has indoor and outdoor pools.

Local media

Tonbridge has two local commercial radio stations, KMFM West Kent
KMFM West Kent
KMFM West Kent is an Independent Local Radio serving the towns of Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Royal Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding areas in Kent, South East England...

, and Heart Kent, previously Invicta FM. The studios for KMFM are now based in Medway but were originally based in Tonbridge. The town is also served by county wide station BBC Radio Kent
BBC Radio Kent
BBC Radio Kent is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Kent.It broadcasts on FM on 96.7 , 97.6 and 104.2 also 774 and 1602 MW and DAB.- History :The radio station was launched in 1970 under the name of BBC Radio Medway, originally only serving the...

, and many London based stations can also be received. The local newspaper with the widest readership covering Tonbridge is the Kent and Sussex Courier
Kent and Sussex Courier
The Kent and Sussex Courier is an English regional newspaper, published in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.The paper was the result of an amalgamation of a number of Kent and East Sussex local newspapers, and hence has always been published in at least two editions, one of which covered the western parts of...


Twin towns

Tonbridge is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with the towns of Le Puy-en-Velay
Le Puy-en-Velay
Le Puy-en-Velay is a commune in the Haute-Loire department in south-central France.Its inhabitants are called Ponots.-History:Le Puy-en-Velay was a major bishopric in medieval France, founded early, though its early history is legendary...

 in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and Heusenstamm
Heusenstamm is a town of over 18,000 in the Offenbach district in the Regierungsbezirk of Darmstadt in Hesse, Germany.- Geography :- Location :The town lies on the river Bieber. Heusenstamm is one of 13 towns and communities in the Offenbach district...

 in Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...


External links

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