Index - Contents - Beginnings - Romans - Saxons - After 1066 - some 15th century parishioners - 15th to 17th Century - l8th Century - 19th Century - Churches - Phelps - Cement - Ferry - Hook Family - May Family - Papermill Fire 1906 - Papermill - Schools - Toll Roads
THE HOOK FAMILY
Samuel Hook, his wife Anna Maria and their five children moved from Chalford , Gloucestershire to
Tovil , Maidstone , in 1852, when Samuel took
a partnership in the paper mill there. Two years later his son Charles Townsend,
aged twenty-two, acquired the Snodland mill and they
all moved to the house in the High Street called 'Acacia cottage' in the 1851
census, which had been the home for previous papermaker masters. It was on the
south side, just where the by-pass is today, and the Hooks lost no time in
rebuilding the property to make it a large and imposing building, filling the
space between Brook Street and May Street
Hook breathed new life into the paper mill. When he took over, production was
about 5 tons a week 'from 20 to 30 hands'. In 1859 Kelly's Directory described it as 'a
manufactory of writing paper from straw which employs about 70 persons. By the
1871 census there were 129 men, 35 women and 12 boys and in the 1882 Directory the mill was 'employing about
350 persons and manufacturing weekly more than 90 tons of paper. But for a
detailed account of the mill the reader is referred to Kenneth Funnell's Snodland Paper Mill(
Snodland , 1979 and 1986).
Following C. T. Hook's death, the family soon appointed a retired army
officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Trevenen James Holland
(1836-1910), as manager of the mill. He built
Ivymeath (now the offices of the Mid-Kent Water Company) during the
1880s, but lived there for only a few years before moving to Tunbridge Wells. Nevertheless, he remained formally in
charge until his death in 1910, although William
Dedrick , the General Manager, effectively and efficiently ran the
business, which contined to prosper, even in
difficult times. There was one blip, however, which the company preferred not to
£100 reward. Wanted on warrant for Fraudulently Embezzling certain sums of
money to the amount of £2000 and upward, the monies of his employers,
Messrs. HOOK & Co., Paper Manufacturers,
Snodland , Kent, between the 6th October 1885, and the 10th September
ALEXANDER EDWARD ROLLASON late Cashier in the above firm, and who absconded on
the 9th September last.
He is about 45 years of age, height 5 feet 9 inches, spare gaunt man, light thin
and straight hair, quick and abrupt in his manner, good regular white teeth, a
little inclined to stoop, short-sighted in one eye, uses glasses, one a
magnifier the other plain, sober man, not in very good health, fond of physicking himself with Homeopathic medicines, speaks
French, well read and well informed. Has a wife but no children. Has resided
abroad, and been employed as commission agent and manager of stores in London,
Paris, New York, Montreal, &c.. May seek similar situations.
The above reward will be paid by "Colonel
Holland, C.B.," Ivymeath ,
Snodland , Kent, for information that will lead to the Apprehension and
Trial of the accused (Police included). Information to be given to
Superintendent Richard Hulse , Kent County
Constabulary, West Malling , who will forward
Photographs of the accused on application. West
Malling . Jan. 2nd. 1888.
All members of the Hook family went out of their way to support and help
the community and many memorials of their generosity remain for the benefit of
succeeding generations. The list below makes no mention of the smaller but
continual charitable acts which one finds in written accounts of the time. We
might note two. Following one particularly harsh winter, Charles Townsend Hook
called a meeting of the parents of pupils at the British Schools. He expressed
his concern that they had had an especially hard struggle 'to pay the school
pence at that time', and refunded them their money.
Woolmer goes on to note:
During the year 1887 (the Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen's Accession), the
Misses Hook not only contributed liberally to the fund raised for the
festivities, which took the form of a feast to the aged poor as well as the
children; but they had struck, by a Maidstone firm,
at their own expense, and from their own design, a number of very pretty little
silver brooches, one of which they presented to each mother who had children
attending the Schools, as a commemoration of the event.
c. 1870? Acquisition of the
British Schools by Charles Townsend Hook. The Hook family paid all expenses
apart from a £90 government grant.
1870: Stained glass windows in All Saints
Church given by Mrs Eustace Hook. She later contributed to the cost of the tiles
in the chancel floor.
1877: Clock Tower built in memory of Charles Townsend Hook.
1878: Gas lamps for
the parish, gas supplied from the mill gasometers
Coffee Tavern in May Street opened.
1882: New Jerusalem Church consecrated on
Providence Chapel sold to the Misses Hook to enlarge the British Schools
almshouses erected in memory of Eustace Hook opened on 27 December. One house
was for a member of the New Jerusalem Church; one for a member of the Church of
England nominated by the Rector; one for a person elected by the Nonconformists.
A second building divided into four tenements was erected later by Agnes Hook in
memory of Amelia Drummond, governess to the Hook family.
1893: The Technical School on the corner
of Waghorn Road and the High Street erected; it
supplemented the work of the British Schools.
1895: Devonshire Rooms erected.
1923: Sale of land
for Fire Station (now the garden at the end of
Waghorn road, next to the Devonshire Rooms).
Of course, to some extent
all this charitable activity was geared to the family's involvement with
the Swedenborgian movement (discussed later) and to
welcoming and encouraging the villagers into that Church. Among the collections
of the Kent Archaeological Society is a privately printed pamphlet, written by
the sisters supposedly as an account of their summer holidays in Devonshire
(hence the 'Devonshire Rooms'), but taken up mostly with religious and moral
preaching. Nevertheless, their contribution to the life and well-being of the
village was outstanding and we still reap its fruits today.
Agnes was an artist, but if her pictures
have survived, the whereabouts of most them is unknown. We have two which may be
by her and two very rough
sketches from the 1930s which may have been based on two more. The latter are mid-nineteenth century views of
the paper mill - just what one would expect from the daughter of the