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Clarke & Colemans
Clarke & Colemans

Around 1810 a mr John Evenden purchased premises we know today as Clark & Coleman’s 140 high streets Tonbridge. Evenden bought these premises from a Sarah Cox widow of peter Cox. Peter Cox appears in finches directory as a druggist 1803 the full dates of his business on this site is unknown.

John Evenden born 1781 establishes his business in 1811 as a chemist and druggist at the age of 29 at 132 high street “note property number 132”. A chemist and druggist being one who has passed minor exams of the pharmaceutical society. He live at Eton house and as a side line he was also a sub distributor of stamps. John Evendens name frequently appears in town records as being a well respected member of the community.

Around 1845 he took on a partner a Lewis Michael Wimber. Lewis wimber lived at Firmont House in dry hill park and he trained as a chemist and druggist under john evenden until the death of john evenden in 1848 aged 67.    

 Lewis Michael Wimber became successor at the age of 35 and as can be seen on the paper labelled stoneware bottle it reads (Wimber late Evenden) and can be dated around 1848 – 49 just after the death of John Evenden.

In a post office directory dated 1859 it shows that Wimber was an agent for the Royal fire and life insurance company. Wimber took retirement in 1880 age 67 it was at this time he took on a partner a Samuel Fredrick Wardley. the business became Wimber & Wardley  Chemist & Druggist 132 Tonbridge Wimber died in 1889 age 76 after this Warldley kept the name Wimber & Wardley for three years before changing it to S F Wardleys .    


Around the turn of the century many buildings in the high street were demolished for road and street improvements this would mean the re numbering of the buildings that remained in the town.   S F Wardleys changed from 132 to 140 by coincidence the new 132 high street was also a chemist a Frank G Abel.


Note the Number change on the top left and above the door
Samual Wardley outside his shop 1906

In 1905 Wardley brought in his friend as a partner a Thomas Clarke and yes once again another name change to Wardley and Clarke.

S F Wardley retired six years later in 1911.  Soon after Thomas Clarke bought in a partner a MR George Coleman and the business became what we know today as Clarke & Colemans.

Clark retired in 1935 and Coleman later sold the business to Mr A c Bowen but the name was not to change. I believe this is because property being owned by a family in the Town related to Thomas Clarke and they wanted the name to be maintained. “More to follow on this part”. 

There is good evidence that suggests that there may have been an Apothecary on this site in the early 17th century.


Clarke and Coleman’s a true Tonbridge Chemist that with its history this building has been looking after and treating the Tonbridge town folk for over two hundred years.