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A snapshot of Southborough

Iguanodon
The earliest known inhabitant of Southborough lived around 135 million years ago. The partial skeleton of an iguanodon was found in the clay of the old brick company in High Brooms and thus part of Southborough is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
As a town Southborough has developed only gradually. As late as the fifteenth century, documentary evidence shows it was an area of farmsteads and hamlets. Southborough did not in fact become a parish in its own right until 1830.

Southborough Coat of Arms
Southborough earned notoriety in the year 1450, when the Constable of Southborough, along with “all the people of the town”, was pardoned for taking part in the Jack Cade rebellion against King Henry VI. It later found fame for its splendid mansions (sadly many no longer standing) as it became an area for holiday accommodation, when the chalybeate spring at the Wells of Tunbridge (now Tunbridge Wells) became a “health spa”. Charles II’s Queen Catherine stayed at Bounds in Southborough for thirteen weeks in 1663.

Until the nineteenth century, agriculture was the main source of employment. Industry came to the town early in the nineteenth century with a number of small companies setting up to manufacture cricket balls. Big industry arrived with the development of the natural resource of clay at High Brooms, which The High Brooms Brick & Tile Company, a major employer in the area, excavated from 1885 to 1968. Such was the importance of these developments that the symbol of a red cricket ball, together with those of red bricks on either side, appears on the coat of arms of Southborough.

Sir David  Salomons
Famous citizens of Southborough include the philanthropist Salomons family – soldiers, dignatories and inventors. The first baronet, Sir David Salomons, fought for Jewish emancipation enabling him to become the first Jewish Lord Mayor of London and later the first MP actually practicing the Jewish faith. The Salomons Museum can be visited at the former family home on the Broomhill estate (now The Salomons’ Centre) to the south of the parish. The museum houses a unique Welte Philharmonic organ and from time to time concerts can be attended.

Decimus Burton
The famous architect Decimus Burton was brought up at Mabledon House at the northern border of the parish. Many of his impressive buildings and monuments are to be seen today, primarily in a number of towns across south-east England, including nearby Tunbridge Wells. In Southborough he extended Mabledon House and designed the Church of St. Peter’s, but without the steeple, which was added later. He also assisted Sir David Salomons with the rebuilding of Broomhill

For more information and views of Southborough, click on Southborough Picture Gallery