INTRO. CHRONICLES. SOCIETIES. PARISH. VILLAGE. CHURCH. PEOPLE.

A History of YALDING, Kent, England

THE HIGH HOUSES.

 

These distinctive houses and shops that had dominated the lower part of the village for a few hundred years, proved to be a loss of great character for the area when they were demolished just before the Second World War started.

This building was originally part of an old coaching inn called The Swan, that had its renewal for licence refused in 1814, which was when the start of a gradual decline began. The main part, termed the High Houses, comprised of over hanging gables, with a wealth of timber frame-work and ornamental plaster infilling. These over-hangs on both sides of the road had previously caused problems and delays, as recorded in the Maidstone Journal of November 18th 1845:-

 

“ The public have lately been obstructed and very much inconvenienced in not being able to pass over Yalding bridge.

On Friday night a wagon laden with straw belonging to Mr Thurcroft of Brenchley was jammed between the houses of the

extreme lower north end ( high houses ), and was detained for some time. This long narrow bridge in the centre of the town has

for some time been a cause of complaint from the frequent stoppages that daily occur by persons being obliged to wait at one

end while other persons are coming over.

It would confer a lasting benefit on the public if this bridge and its many inconveniences, could be brought under the notice of

the county magistrates in a way which may induce them to make such alterations as are necessary for the accommodation of

the public in this age of progression.”

 

They were declared unsafe and initially we were led to believe that the owners could not be contacted, but an article recorded in the Kent Messenger of July 10th 1938, revealed part of the true story.

“Some months ago Maidstone Rural Council made a slum clearance order on these houses which in their opinion were unfit for human habitation. On Tuesday at the Council offices in Maidstone the Ministry of Health held a public enquiry and heard objections to the demolition of the High Houses.

Mr R J L Brennan, on behalf of Mr A Morris Wheeler the owner, said that his client found great pleasure in purchasing old properties and modernising them while preserving all their ancient features and characteristics. In this case he devised to convert the property into two houses and shops, or houses and shops combined. He could not proceed with a large amount of interior stripping until one of the tenants left.

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