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Village People

Keith Harden recently left a note on the message board which read:
I never lived in Wateringbury! but my mother, Gladys Harden, nee Kirby did. Indeed, her mother and father, my grandparents, are the same Edward and Gladys Kirby mentioned as running The Fir Tree Ale House on your 'old pubs' page. She lived there together with sisters Joan and Betty and all three of them had to help in running the pub in their teenage years. The pix of hop picking strike a chord with me because, even though the family moved away when The Fir Tree was demolished, we still hop picked every years (I think they lived at Paddock Wood then). I remember little else of the time but some names stick - Cronk (another website gives the Cronks as licensees of The Fir Tree) and Ada or Ida Shepherd. Anyone remember my family? A house fire 8 years ago destroyed most of our family archive and I am trying to resurrect it. Thank you.

Keith has now kindly sent some photos which we hope will jog some memories and enable us to help him put some names to some of the people and places.

Over to you Keith:...............
Well, I hope these photos are good enough for you to do something with.  They are, as you can see, poor quality and somewhat fire and water ravaged.  However, now that my interest has been excited by your website I felt I must send them; you will probably have seen the latest from Diane Hayes on the message board and it turns out that although we are not actually related, we nearly are!  Words of explanation to go with the photos are as follows:

The family group of Ted and Gladys Kirby with daughters Gladys (back) and Betty.  The gent sitting in the front is my maternal Great Grandfather Henry Martin, who was landlord of the Queens Head was Whitbreads longest serving licensee at 47 years. (his son in law Fred Cronk was landlord of the Nort Pole).

This is my Aunt Joan (Cheeseman, daughter of Gladys Kirby from her first marriage), my mother Gladys and the youngest sister Betty.  The family used to refer to this photo as “The Bisto Kids” – that too should bring back memories for your readers.

 This lady is Evelyn Adams, nee Martin.

Possibly taken on the wedding day in the photo at top right – my mother on the right with Doris next to her but I do not know the others.  I do have a dim recollection of the very tall, elegant lady second from the left.

Dawn has since kindly written to say that the elegant lady is her Gran Ada Shepherd and that from left to right is: Mrs Latter, Ada Shepherd (Dawns Gran), Lily Shephard (Dawns Aunt) and Doris Huggett (nee Shepherd).

A real piece of social history – May Day at Wateringbury CofE School. My Aunt Betty Kirby is seated to the immediate right of the May Queen with Gladys Kirby standing far right.

'The Handyman, Queens Head'
I have no idea who this gentleman is but am guessing he might be an ancestor of mine.  Any help from readers would be appreciated.

This is of Ted and Gladys Kirby in their garden at Northbourne in 1937 where he was licensee of the Hare & Hounds.

I am guessing that this house is/was in Wateringbury because it was on the same page in the family album as many of these other photos.  Address or connection to my family, unknown.

The wedding of Dick Huggett and Doris ? – is the lady on the right Ada Shepherd?  
It was taken in May 41.

 Dawn again later writes to say this is William Shepherd (Dawns Uncle), Dick Huggett, Doris Huggett and Ada Shepherd (Dawns Gran).

This is my Great Grandfather Walter Kirby with two of his daughters, Louie and Ivy.

One final plea, my reference above to Glady’s Kirby’s first marriage to someone called Cheeseman who was killed during World War I.  I have not been able to identify him from the numerous soldiers of that name, all from Kent, and was wondering if any of your readers might be able to help.  I know there is a soldier of that name on the Wateringbury War Memorial but the military records show him as leaving a widow Alice rather than Gladys, so I doubt it is him.  My father’s research came up with the theory that he died fighting with the Black Watch (I hope that means fighting with rather than against them !) but he would not have been Scots.  If any of your readers can identify who he might be (name, regiment, etc) I would be most grateful.

All the above photos are courtesy of Keith Harden