Colonel Holman F Stephens, who brought the railways to Tenterden and the Rother Valley has been honored by a blue plaque at Tonbridge Station, SouthEastern Railway have announced.
The oldest surviving plaque was installed in 1867 for French Emperor, Emperor Napoleon III. Dartford Station sees a plaque marking the spot where Keith Richards and Mick Jagger met.
2018 marks the 150th birthday of Holman Stephens. He was the developer of the ‘light railways’, which were cheaper to build than the standard gauge railways.
For 50 years, he ran his operations from his home in Salford Terrace, Tonbridge. This was later to become the Kent and East Sussex Railway, he also was associated with the Rye & Camber Tramway, the Shropshire & Montgomeryshire and the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railway.
The plaque at Tonbridge Station was unveiled on 10th July 2018 by David Wornham Passenger Services Director of SouthEastern Railway, Ian Legg, Chairman of the Kent & East Sussex Railway and Les Darbyshire of the Colonel Stephens Society.
What did the officials say?
Hugh Smith, of the Colonel Stephens Society, said:
“The Salford Terrace building is still there. It is only a few hundred yards from the mainline railway station entrance and it is known that Stephens and his staff made frequent use of Tonbridge station to oversee, his light railway projects and later, his operational lines. So, we decided to ask Southeastern Railway if they would agree to have a plaque on their station. They agreed enthusiastically.”
Pat Walsh, Tonbridge Southeastern Station Manager said:
“Our passengers are going to be very interested to see that such an instrumental gentleman within UK railway history is being honoured with a Blue Plaque at our Railway station. I really look forward to seeing their reactions to the new addition in our station.
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