A History of YALDING, Kent, England


Between the west and north entrance paths to the church, ie. the present Library to the Bric-a-Brac barn, was a grocery, clothes, haberdashery, and general hardware stores. From about 1905 until it closed its doors in 1974 it functioned under the name of Adin Coates.

The shop was managed in later years by his youngest son Reginald, who had a sister Madeleine, and three brothers. Adin had built up quite a business and James was to manage a retail enterprise in Edenbridge, Richard in Tenterden, Spencer in Leigh, and Reginald the shop here. There was another branch functioning at Rye, but that was managed outside the family.


For several decades from before the First World War until about1970, Adin Coates’ vans of various models over that period, could be seen delivering goods throughout our locality, which included an area between East Farleigh and East Peckham, and Hunton to Nettlestead. The second to last driver performing that essential task was Robert Frid. Other previous drivers had been Pedlar Mills, George Davis, and Doug Richardson before the 39-45 war, followed afterwards by Hazel Dyer, Robert, Mabel Hope and then June Dyer.

The bungalow along Vicarage Road called The Orchard, was originally on the site of a larger orchard owned by Adin, and the bungalow was initially built for son Richard.

Adin lived at the Yalding shop, and was obviously keen to be involved and support the local community. Dressed in an immaculate suit he was photographed alongside the village football team of 1926/27, who had won the Tonbridge Hospital Cup that season. When the local team won a trophy or cup it was displayed in the shop window.


Adin lived to reach the age of 100, and with his wife Bertha is buried in our churchyard. He in 1969, and Bertha in 1938 at the age of 68. He was born at Cowden, Kent in 1869, and by 1881 his family were living at Paddock Wood, then part of Brenchley, where his father was identified as a glove and gaiter maker, with Adin listed as a grocers shop boy. Before the age of twenty, he had left home and went to Rhodesia, where he had joined the mounted police. Later he moved to Pretoria where he ran a drapers store for a few years, before again wanting to be involved with the events of the time. He had intended to enlist with some Irregular Corps, but met Colonel Lionel James who was foreign correspondent of The Times, and volunteered to act as his interpreter and guide.

In his autobiography, (High Pressure), Colonel James refers to Adin as, “a great find. He was one of those young Englishmen in whose blood was a strong infusion of those adventurous elements of the nation that have acquired the Empire. He was brave, resourceful, loyal, and both The Times and I, myself, owe him a debt of gratitude. He said that . Doig's hash house was destined to serve me well: there I met Adin Coates (sic), a young English refugee from the Transvaal. Coates, who had been managing a store in the Transvaal for some years, had come to Maritzburg with the intention of enlisting with some Irregular Corps. He volunteered to come with me as interpreter, guide and servant.