Pembury History

Sturgeon Family – the Pembury Years

Arthur Edward Sturgeon (1873 – 1949)
Arthur was born on the 11 September, 1873 in Little Whelnetham, Suffolk.  He was baptised at St Mary Magdalene. His father was Edward and his mother Sabina. Albert worked as a Coachman/Groom in Lavenham, Suffolk, then at St John’s Wood and later, Brighton before semi-retiring. The 1901 Census shows him living at Station Road, Horley, Reigate. In 1907, the family moved to the then newly built house, 1 Canterbury Road, Pembury. Albert worked in Pembury as a Chauffeur and Market Gardener, selling his produce to grocers and greengrocers In Tunbridge Wells and local villages.

Albert died on the 23 September, 1949 at Ormond, Henwood Green Road aged 76. His probate was given to Frederick Albert Sturgeon, mechanical engineer.

Emily Sturgeon nee Byford   (1872 – 1947)
Emily was born in Great Sailing, Essex. She was in service to the Crittall family. She married Albert Edward Sturgeon on the 30 June, 1898 at All Saints Church, Marylebone, London. They had nine children (see below). Emily died in 1947.

Link to Obituary

Photo above: Arthur E Sturgeon, Emily Sturgeon, son Frederick Sturgeon and daughter May Sturgeon.

Below:  1911 Census document (click image for detail enlargement)

1: Frederick Albert Sturgeon       

(1899 – 1981)

Frederick Albert was born in 1899 in St John’s Wood, Middlesex.

Fred married Marjorie Annie Poole in 1922. They had four children: Ronald born 1923, Lionel born 1936, Norman born 1925 and Marjorie born 1931. Marjorie had a sweet/confectionary shop and they lived above the premises at Three Ways, Hectorage Road, Tonbridge. Frederick died in 1981 in Worthing.

Link below-

Wedding Article: Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser 26 May, 1922


Frederick Sturgeon is shown in the centre at the bottom of this photograph. He is with the Poole family. At the back: Ernest Poole and Grace Poole. At the front, Frances Poole, Frederick Sturgeon and Norah Poole.

2 : May Ethel Sturgeon
(1901 – 1922)
May Ethel was born in Horley in 1901. She married Albert J Goulds in 1927 in East Peckham where they lived throughout their lives. They had no children. Sadly, May was incapacitated. She died in 1948.Link below-

Wedding Article: Kent and Sussex Courier, 11 March 1922


3 : Edward Ernest Sturgeon
(1903 – 1968)
Edward Ernest Sturgeon was born in Brighton, 1903. He was known as Ern.In the Courier, 7 November, 1930, Edward had to pay damages of £100 to a gentleman as a result of an accident. This payment appears to have contributed to bankruptcy proceedings. He married Mabel N Neve from Marden in 1931. They had two daughters, Pauline born 6 May, 1933 and Gillian born in 1940. Gillian died in 1943.  Ern also served as a Special Constable and became a successful Haulage Contactor operating his business from Pitts Farm, Henwood Green Road.  The 1939 Register shows the family at Pitts Farmhouse with other occupants Joyce R Kelley (Willis), Barbara D Foley (Willis), Dorothy A Randall and two closed records. Ern’s business was nationalised but a few years later, after a change in Government, he was able to buy it back. He sold the business to a company from Edenbridge who transferred the business there. He sold his house and land and retired to Worthing, Sussex. He died in 1968.    Link below-

Bankruptcy Article: Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, 23 January, 1931


4 : George Stanley Sturgeon
(1905 – 1987)
George Stanley Sturgeon was born in Brighton on the 25 March, 1905. His family having moved to Pembury in 1907, he went to Pembury School aged 4. George was a member of the Pembury Church Choir remembering after morning service and lunch, the young choristers walked to Sunday School at Kenward at 2.30pm and then sang evening song at the Old Church before walking back for the evening service at the Upper Church. (He later gifted many things to the Church including the tall flower stands.) George left school at age 12 to work on a farm at Pembury Grange.

He later became an assistant in the Pembury High Street shop of W.Hills (Butcher and Grazier) where they slaughtered the animals on the premises. He later moved with his manager to open a new butcher’s shop in Horley. In 1924, George joined the Royal Horse Artillery and took part in two musical rides at the Royal Tournament. He always credited his six years in the Army for enabling him to study and make up for the education he lost through leaving school early.

He returned to Pembury in 1930 working in the Pembury Brickyard at 7d per hour. In 1932, George married Margaret Ellen Rofe at Brenchley Church.  She was the daughter of Florence and Len Rofe of Walnut Tree near Brenchley. Len’s work as a traction engine driver took him all over Kent and Sussex. Margaret was known as Meg.  George was earning £1.10s per week when they were married.  George and Meg had eight children:  listed in the right hand panel.  The family lived at several addresses in Henwood Green Road.  See details lower down the page.

George started his coal business with a second-hand Chevrolet which cost him £40 and raised his earnings to £5 per week. He spent much of his life building G.S. Sturgeon, ploughing any profits back into the business. Consequently, he was able to expand into Road Haulage, Road Contacting and Civil Engineering. Sturgeon’s negotiated and completed some major contracts locally and throughout Kent. He acquired his own yard and offices on Henwood Green Road and built the family home, Montrose, on site.
Five of George’s children, upon leaving school, worked in different roles in the business. Stella, Gerald and Leo left to pursue other careers. Rex and Nigel went on to become partners in G.S. Sturgeon.

In 1945, George began 27 years of service to Pembury Parish Council. The Article “Families Leave as Gale Wrecks Homes”, 25 April, 1947 shows George as owner of Red Row cottages. George also served on the Tonbridge Rural District Council from 1957 and became Chairman of Pembury Parish Council in 1969.  George prepared the way for the amalgamation of four Local Authorities into Tunbridge Wells District Council. He continued to serve until age 75.

George was the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells from 1974-1975. His portrait (see image right) hangs in the Tunbridge Wells Town Hall. His main interest was in finance and housing. In later years, he played Bowls for Pembury and The Grove in Tunbridge Wells.  George died on the 16 November, 1987 at home in Montrose, Henwood Green Road, Pembury. His sons Rex and Nigel took over the business trading as Sturgeon’s of Pembury. His wife Margaret died at home in Montrose in 2003.

     Above: Kelly’s Directory listing 1948



George’s Children:

Rex Stanley born 1933
Stella   born 1935
Gerald C born 1936
Janet E born 1937
Barry born 1939
Leo M born 1940
Roslyn A born 1942
Nigel born 1944


Newspaper Clip 1  – Wedding 1932
Newspaper Clip 2  – Roller for hire
Newspaper Clip 3 – Families leave as gale wrecks homes
Newspaper Clip 4 – Bid to Limit L riders
Newspaper Clip 5 – New sewage works opens
Newspaper Clip 6 – Pembury primary school
Newspaper Clip 7 – Praise for the bus company
Newspaper Clip 8 – Camel trips in the Sahara
Newspaper Clip 9 – Pembury illuminated bollard


Above: George Sturgeon from a picture in
Pembury Village News 1980  (Issue 25)

Link to the archive copy of Issue 25 of the
Pembury Village News

Above: 1955 advertisement

5:  Violet Elizabeth Sturgeon  (1909 – 1924)
Violet was born in 1909 and died in 1924 of heart failure aged 14.

6: Arthur Rex Sturgeon  (1911 – 1933)
Arthur was born in 1911 and died in Tunbridge Wells General Hospital as a result of head injuries sustained after he crashed his motorbike on 19 May 1933 in Tunbridge Wells. He was 22.  The tragedy had a profound effect on the family especially his brother, George.

The Courier 1933

7: Bertha Mabel    (1913 – 1989)
Bertha Mabel was born in March 1913. She married Walter E Williamson on the 5 December, 1937. They had a daughter, Erica. They lived in Lamberhurst at Hill Cottage (1939 Register) initially and later moved to The Oast House, 36 Henwood Green Road. Walter, known by everyone as Ted, established a business as a small fruit farmer growing Cherries. He also reared livestock mainly pigs, for which he collected food waste from houses in Pembury. Bertha died in 1989.

Newspaper cutting of wedding

8: Laura Nelly Sturgeon (1915 – 1986)
Laura was born in Pembury in 1915. She married Joseph W Taylor from Tunbridge Wells in 1939.  The 1939 Register shows them living at 11 Standen Street. Joseph was a butcher working for Sainsbury’s. They had two children, Jennifer and John. They moved to Southborough where Joseph had a butcher’s shop.  Sadly, Laura suffered a mental breakdown and died in Cuckfield Hospital, Haywards Heath in 1986.

Newspaper cutting of wedding

9: Joan Muriel Sturgeon (1917 – 2003)
Joan was born in Pembury on 27 December, 1917.    Joan married Alan Herbert Baker in 1942.They had one child, Patricia Joan born 1946. Alan became George Sturgeon’s office manager. The family moved to 29 Henwood Green Road. Their daughter, Patricia married a farm manager and moved to Chichester. Joan died in 2003.

Clarification of House names and residences of the Sturgeon family by Barry Sturgeon
The first house my parents lived in was Orchard Cottage,  Henwood Green Rd.
They later moved to Montrose,   Henwood Green Rd. ( I was born there in 1939)
Later, and after the end of WW2, my father built a new house next to his yard and office.
They then transferred the Montrose name to the new building. I think the reason for keeping the Montrose name was to make it easy for him as he received lots of business correspondence etc.
The first Montrose was sold to my father’s sister Joan Baker and husband who re named it Ormond.



Histroric details compiled from notes & research by Barry Sturgeon and Jane Grooms.

Web page compiled by Tony Nicholls

Srurgeon Family

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