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My Family in Tonbridge

Cricket ball making is one of Tonbridges oldest trades and has been in my family for 4 generations right back to my great great great granddad in  the1860s and possibly before him. This is a picture of my great granddad and his equipment now at Tonbridge Castle. He made cricket balls stitching them together with twine, many years ago he was asked to stitch a cricket ball with gold thread for an Arab man. He also new the famous cricketer Colin Cowdry  who once came to the ball factory to choose balls for test matches. Over the years he worked in all the different ball making factories in and around the town.

This is my great granddad stitching cricket balls & his equipment on display in Tonbridge Castle


One story was when his dad worked with his dad about 1901 at Penshurst making cricket balls, all the workers use to walk along the railway track and occasionally the steam train would slowdown and stop at the river bridge at hayesden. The workers would hold on the side for a free ride until it got to Penshurst, then on the way home in the summer they would stop at the shallows for a swim.  


Also in the town there is a small ally in the High Street called Jefferys Passage this was because my Great great granddad’s brother had a butcher’s shop in the ally and it was named after him.    

JEFFERY'S PASSAGE - is in the north end of the high street . Hand stitched by my Great Granddad


Wartime Jeffery’s



When people ask me my name I say its

Robert Shaun William James Neville Walter Jeffery to remember all the Jeffery's that died during the wars 


Lance Corporal - William James Jeffery

My Great great granddad Lance corporal William James Jeffery joined the royal Engineers known at the Kent Fortress and fought and died at Gallipoli in 1919


Donkey man - Neville Jeffery

William’s youngest brother Neville who was a Merchant seaman died after his ship was torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Sergeant - Walter Jeffery


Williams’s younger brother Walter Jeffery joined the Royal West Kent Regiment and was wounded at three different battles and received the military medal and died from his wounds in 1917.


Sergeant Kenneth Jeffery & Able Seaman Victor Jeffery

Kenneth was my great granddad – he was in the (RAF) Royal Air Force in Burma when he received news that a German Submarine torpedoed his brother Victor’s ship. Kenneth thought that Victor was dead. But Victor was a very lucky man who survived 11 days at sea in an open boat in the Atlantic Ocean. His story was in the Tonbridge and national newspapers