Memories of the Assembly Hall, Tunbridge Wells and more

PUBLISHED: 09:32 14 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:32 14 June 2014

The Peanut Club at the Assembly Hall

The Peanut Club at the Assembly Hall


From the Peanut Club in the 1940s to social media today

Memories of the Assembly Hall [main head]

In our May edition we asked readers to tell us about their memories or connections with the Assembly Hall in Tunbridge Wells, which celebrates its 75th birthday this year. Here are two responses we particularly enjoyed.

The Playroom [smaller head – all part of one section]

The Assembly Hall Theatre in Tunbridge Wells was a huge part of my life for 12 years as it was the base for a small business I started up in 1988. The Playroom was the very first drop-in children’s crèche in Tunbridge Wells.

The management at the AHT very kindly allowed us to rent a room in the basement (which is now the downstairs bar) to set up a permanent nursery for 15 children between 9.30am and 3pm. Charging just £1 per hour we were supported by many local businesses who donated toys and equipment to this new service aimed at part-time working mums or those who just needed a short break now and again.

The Playroom was launched in 1988 with attendance by the town Mayor and an appearance from Paddington Bear (the town mascot).

Our Christmas parties were legendary and grew bigger and more elaborate each year, with an entertainer and a specially built grotto where an elf pulled the children on a sledge down a snow-covered corridor to visit Father Christmas in his little house.

As the pantomime season had begun we were often treated to a celebrity appearance including the Seven Dwarfs, Peter Pan and even the pantomime horse!

One year Dave Benson Philips from children’s TV took the children on an impromptu ‘follow my leader’ march around the theatre. singing songs as they processed.

The Assembly Hall staff were always very friendly and supportive. I particularly remember a power cut which plunged us into near pitch darkness during an annual inspection by social services!

We pretended it was a game, singing nursery rhymes to calm the children and without delay the box office staff kindly came down and helped us to move everyone to the foyer where there was some light. We even came away with a glowing report from the inspector due to the way we handled the crisis!

Many hundreds of Tunbridge Wells children passed through the nursery over those 12 years. I have many happy memories of the theatre and feel very nostalgic when I visit.

Sue Leach (nee Thomas), Crowborough

Tiny dancer [smaller head – all part of one section]

I am unsure of the exact year but think it was probably about 1951/2 when I was four or five years of age. At the time I attended a local dance school in Tonbridge held in the Constitutional Club.

We regularly provided entertainment and for some reason we gave a performance at the Assembly Hall. Although I was only very young at the time, I gave solo performances and the Assembly Hall in some parts is clear in my mind as being the venue for one.

I can remember being told that I would have to adapt to the larger theatre by dancing 20 times one way and then 20 the other. My costume was known as Jingle Bells and was a white tutu with a pink bolero and a pill box hat decorated with bells (all made by Mum), while Dad made a silver sleigh.

I do not feel that I was at all phased by the vastness of the stage, I just remember a large dark space beyond it.

Susan Killick, Tonbridge

Home brewing

After reading your magazine Kent Life, which I might add is fantastic and very informative, I came across the letter from a reader on making home-made wine.

Like Rev. Desmond Sampson from Hythe (Kent Life, April 2014, page 11) I have always wanted to brew my own wine, as my father did 40 years ago when I was a child.

I would be exceptionally happy for some equipment or even a rhubarb crown or two. We used to have an allotment but due to bad health have had to give that up. I am now showing my daughter and my husband how to grow fruit and vegetables.

Our daughter has been lucky enough to get into a new Free School run by Hadlow College. Hadlow Rural Community School wis a fantastic new way of learning the national curriculum while gaining Agricultural and Horticultural knowledge.

Sharon Hutchins, Tonbridge

Ed’s note: I have passed on your details to Rev. Sampson and hope you can meet up and start your dream of wine making. Please keep me posted!

Social Buzz


This month we look at Instagram, an app with more than 27 million users who are sharing photos relevant to their business or interests.

4 Stages of Instagram for B2B


 Create a plan which will help you to organise your customers and fans.

 Define your target audience and decide how you will get them to interact with your photos.

 Post pictures that your customers can only see on Instagram.

Take photos

 Make sure it is visually engaging, if not don’t post it.

 Personalise your photos; have ones of employees, your achievements, etc.

Use Hashtags

 These will act as keywords to help other Instagram users to find you.

 Hashtags will also help you to get more followers so use them on every post.

 Ensure they are unique to your company but also use popular keywords so you are seen.


 This is the main reason for a company to use a social media platform such as Instagram.

 Post photos of events that you host to show your clients what you are doing.

 Have a competition for your clients and get them posting.

If you would like further information about social media for business you can quote KENT LIFE for a FREE initial consultation with Gabrielle Argent and Zoe Cairns who have collaborated to provide this advice.

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