GLORIA LEWIS looks at what was reported in the Kentish Express 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago.
March 2, 1907
Lieutenant Boyd Alexander, who has just returned after his successful expedition in Africa, which has extended over a period of three years, during which he has covered a distance of over three thousand miles and accomplished a most accurate and important survey of vast regions of territory hitherto practically unknown, was on Tuesday evening the guest at a dinner given in his honour at the George Hotel, Cranbrook.
Mrs. Laurence Hardy has consented to open an exhibition and sale of work at the Whitfield Hall on Tuesday next. The function is held under the auspices of the Gentlewomen’s Industrial Guild and is supported by the influential ladies of the district, many of whom are to act as stall-holders.
February 26, 1932
Guard A. H. Millen, of 229, Beaver-road, Ashford, who has just retired after fiftytwo years’ railway service, does not find 13 an unlucky number. He was 13 when he started work on the 13th, was married on the 13th and received a gold medal for long service on the 13th. Mr. Millen did duty on royal trains and was with the train that conveyed King Edward VII on his last journey from London to Dover.
In common with other towns, Ashford has been participating in the gold rush of recent days, and all classes of people have raked out gold from queer hiding places and changed coins and jewellery into paper and silver currency. Messrs. Herbert and Company, Bank-street, where Mr. F. Martin and his assistants have been kept busy have taken in coinage alone an average of £500 a day. One of their first customers was an elderly man who brought in 1,000 sovereigns. Family relics have been brought into the shop and some interesting pieces of old jewellery have been bought. Among the purchases have been a Garter half-sovereign of George II, a Kruger, Australian and French coins and a number of £5 pieces.
A police patrol car beat the clock by 24 minutes on Wednesday night, when Ashford Hospital put out an emergency call for ice. It was needed for a child very ill in an oxygen tent. The night sister phoned Ashford Police who flashed a message to the Kent police information room. A patrol car was sent to Canterbury for ice. The sister had told police the ice must reach the hospital by 12.30am or the child’s condition might become dangerous. The car arrived with the ice at 12.06am.
From beneath white covering sheets in the corner of Kent garages this week emerged two new cars which are being launched on British and world markets. These were the entirely new Vauxhall Victor and the Austin A55. Over numerous glasses of sherry the cars were presented locally throughout Kent. Personalities made appearances at some Kent showrooms to mark the occasion. Local celebrities Eric Barker and Pearl Hackney visited showrooms in Ashford to see one of the new vehicles. The greater interest obviously centred around the new Victor which was shown at the showroom of Martin Walters Ltd., at Canterbury and Folkestone, and also Stanhay (Ashford) Ltd.
February 26, 1982
Ashford’s MP, Keith Speed, is among those urging the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to run an insurance scheme covering its members in event of death or disablement. His concern was highlighted by the Penlee Lifeboat disaster. Mr Speed wrote to the RNLI asking for a scheme which would provide reasonable sums in such circumstances. RNLI director Rear Admiral W Graham replied to Mr Speed saying that the institution was prepared to reconsider its policy in the light of experience.
Sellindge couple John and Gillian Dare have heard that their bid in Parliament to win permission to wed has been taken up by peers. Gillian is John’s stepdaughter and the law forbids their marriage. So now they have presented a petition to the House of Lords, hoping to get a personal Bill adopted to make their case an exception.
Royal assent was given later that year