Housing provided by the Committee

In 1914 there were a great number of large empty houses in the town (plus ça change!) and they were quickly snapped up as billets for soldiers, auxiliary VAD hospitals, and homes for refugees.

Accommodation for the Belgian refugees would be provided in (a) furnished houses, (b) houses furnished by the Committee, (c) apartments, and (d) hostels.  The Committee later commented that “with regard to the hostel system of housing, some little difficulty was at first experienced by the Committee in meeting the different views and habits of the Flemings and Walloons but this was soon overcome by allotting hostels to each class” [sic].

In total, 38 properties were used by the Mayor’s Refugee Committee, with at least another 16 either offered to the Committee or rented privately.

Of the houses run by the Committee, three were lent rent free:

32 Upper Grosvenor Road by Canon Keatinge and St Augustine’s (Oct. 1914 – Apr. 191?);

Grosvenor Lodge by Charles Tattershall Dodd and family (Oct. 1914 – May. 1919) ; and

11 Linden Park by builder Louis Beale (Nov. 1914 – Apr. 1918).

The Church Army “Anchor” Home on Upper Grosvenor Road, was rented to the Committee for a nominal rent of £1 a week.'The Belgian Hostel', 47 Upper Grosvenor Road today (2014)

Another, the Old Blessed Sacrament Convent at 47 Upper Grosvenor Road‘The Belgian Hostel’ – had its rent generously paid by two members of the Committee, Miss Power and Miss McClean.

Six further houses were rented by the Committee, two furnished and four to be furnished by the Committee, and apartment accommodation was provided at 26 other properties in Tunbridge Wells and Southborough.

Properties occupied by Belgians were rate-free, in line with a resolution passed by the Borough Council at its Meeting in October 1914.

Tunbridge Wells
1 Albert Street
19 Beltring Road
21 Beltring Road
62 Beulah Road
65 Beulah Road
1 Calverley Park Crescent
3 Calverley Road
9 Calverley Street
38 Calverley Street
64 Claremont Road
37 Culverden Down
25 Culverden Park Road
55 Culverden Park Road
2 Dorking Road
26 Dudley Road
28 Dudley Road
3 East Cliff Road
34 Grosvenor Park
50 Grosvenor Park
Grosvenor Lodge, Grosvenor Road
11 Linden Park
1 Monson Road
19 Monson Road
31 Monson Road
194 Silverdale Road
32 Upper Grosvenor Road
33 Upper Grosvenor Road
38 Upper Grosvenor Road
152 Upper Grosvenor Road
154b Upper Grosvenor Road
213 Upper Grosvenor Road
246 Upper Grosvenor Road
26 York Road
40 York Road
16 Church Road
61a London Road
72 Pennington Road

Sources : 1919 Report of the work of the Borough of Tunbridge Wells Belgian Refugees Committee, and Tunbridge Wells Borough Archives.

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