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.
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
Southborough Beechview 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.