Engineers Cottages, Penshurst Road

Located between the Old Brickmakers and Saxby Wood.   Formerly Engineers Cottages – now Engineers Cottage and Sandelwood Cottage.

 

According to Lawrence Biddle, in Leigh in Kent 1550-1900, in 1841, “the Tithe Map index shows that the Penshurst Estate owned five cottages between the parish cottages at Saxby Wood and Lower Green.  Some of them were demolished when the two Engineers Cottages were built and when Mr Fuller built the Brickmakers Arms in 1841.   Of the five cottages only Bombers is standing today.”

This is the only mention in his book of Engineers Cottages and we are given no history of them.  We do not know when they were built, or by which builder, what they replaced or under the auspices of whom – the Penshurst Estate or the Hall Place Estate.  In the Sales Particulars of the Hall Place estate 1870, the land where these cottages are situated, still formed part of the Penshurst Estate and, therefore, were not part of the Hall Place sale so we have no details of cottages on it at that date.  However, the 1871 ordnance survey map does show cottages on the site (as do later OS maps), but one cannot say whether these cottages are the current ones.   Furthermore, we do not know when or if this land and/or cottages were ever purchased by the Hall Place estate.  The Penshurst Estate sales particulars of 1921 do not include these cottages (although Brickmakers, Bombers Cottage and other cottages in Lower Green were included in the sale).  In 1911, Hall Place purchased Prices Farm from the Penshurst Estate, so perhaps they were sold to Hall Place at that time?  Or they might have been sold after 1921 to Hall Place, but if so, it would have been before 1926, because the Hall Place conveyances which start in 1926 and run to 1970 do not include Engineers Cottages, nor are they included in the estate rent books between 1930 and 1960.  Therefore, further research is needed and possibly the evidence is with the Penshurst estate’s own records.

It has been intimated that Engineers Cottages might have been built to house the workers at the Waterworks in Kiln Lane, hence their name: the Waterworks, built for the Hall Place Estate in 1872/1873 (by Hope Constable of Penshurst) were also on land owned by the Penshurst estate as can be seen from the 1921 Sales Particulars.  Therefore, the Engineers Cottages might have also been built in about 1872/73 for the Hall Place Estate (perhaps again by Hope Constable of Penshurst) When Samuel Morley moved to Hall Place in 1870, he found that many cottages needed radical improvement and had some reconstructed and some new cottages built of a model type.   They are unlikely to have been built by George Devey – they are not listed for a start.  However, they are an example of later 19th century buildings, with red tile hung fascia, common to the area at that time.

The cottages retained their name of Engineers Cottages nos. 1 and 2 until 1990, when the current owners of No. 1 Engineers Cottage changed it to Sandalwood House.   They were originally two bedrooms up and two rooms down, fronting the High Street, with a kitchen, parlour and living room.  Any toilet facilities would have been outside.  However, over the years, they have been extended and along with some modernisation, the cottages are now three bedrooms, bathroom and four reception rooms, Sandalwood Cottage has a downstairs shower room and Engineers Cottage a utility room.  Both have gardens and garages.

 

Information from the Census:

The Censuses from 1871 gives us an idea who would have been living at the cottages in that we can determine who was living at Brickmakers and hence proceed from there.

1871 Census
George Goodwin  64   carpenter
Ann Goodwin  54

Living next to:
John Wickenden  54  schoolmaster and vestry clerk and family

Living next to:
Brickmakers
George Crowhurst and family, beerhouse keeper
1881 Census
John Wickenden, 64, plumber  b. Sussex
Louisa Wickenden, his wife, aged 59 born Cranbrook.

Living next to:
George Goodwin  75   Estate carpenter  b. Ashurst
Ann Goodwin  65    b. Penshurst

Living next to:
George Crowhurst and family, at the Brickmakers Arms, beerhouse keeper, b. Leigh
1891  Census:
William Wickenden and family – plumber and decorator   (b. ca 1848, son of John W. Above)

Living next to:
Ann Goodwin, aged 75, and family

Living next to:
Abnor Parker at the Brickmakers Arms, licensed victualler)

 
1901 Census:
Abnor Parker, Brickmakers Arms

Next door we have:
Clotha Goodwin aged 50 dressmakeer
Harry Heney, her nephew, a mechanical engineer

Next door:
Florence Martin and her brother:Henry Martin:  postman

Then William Nicholls

1911 Census:

Brickmakers Arm   Mr J Roots, farmer and beer retailer
We can only guess the next houses going up the Penshurst Road because Pear Tree is named:

– Eliza Goodwin and Henry Heney (living next to Brickmakers Arms in 1901)
– William Young
– Florence Martin
– William Nicholls
– Mr Burfield – who is living at Pear Tree Cottage – one of the cottages up from “Engineers” along the ‘Penshurst Road’.

Lawrence Biddle   refers to the Scheme of Drainage for the village 1872 , held by Leigh parish Council

“1872 plan showing the Scheme of Drainage of the village of Leigh Kent
Leather bound book with details of each individual property in the village, together with the coloured plan of the whole village on the scale of 50.644 inches to the mile, showing the whole drainage scheme which was carried out at the expense of Samuel Morley.  This book includes a list of every property in the village with the name of its owner and occupier at the date of publication”
Unfortunately, have not yet managed to have a sight of this book despite several requests to the Parish Council.

From the third postcard below shows the cottages dated 1915.

 

 

Engineers Cottages, High Street
Engineers Cottages, High Street

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brickmakers Arms, plus view looking up the Hill towards two terraces of cottages furthest in picture) which were pulled down to make way for Saxby Wood in 1968/69. Also pair of buildings next to brickmakers would be Engineers Cottages (today Engineers Cottage and Sandalwood.
Brickmakers Arms, plus view looking up the Hill towards two terraces of cottages furthest in picture) which were pulled down to make way for Saxby Wood in 1968/69. Also pair of buildings next to brickmakers would be Engineers Cottages (today Engineers Cottage and Sandalwood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penshurst Road from the four charity cottages (now the site of Saxby Wood) - then the two cottages known as Engineers Cottages (today Engineers Cottage and Sandelwood) to the Brickmakers Arms and beyond. Postcard postmarked 1915
Penshurst Road from the four charity cottages (now the site of Saxby Wood) – then the two cottages known as Engineers Cottages (today Engineers Cottage and Sandelwood) to the Brickmakers Arms and beyond. Postcard postmarked 1915