March Newsletter


Regrettably our delayed AGM, provisionally scheduled for April 2021, will again have to be postponed. The committee will inform everyone just as soon as we are given a firm date from the Angel Centre.


The White Hart Inn was located at the north end of the High Street almost opposite the Ivy House. Records of a pub on this site can be traced back to 1750, but there was probably one there even before that date. This establishment was only licensed to sell beer. In 1874 Mr Warner, on behalf of Mr Charles Groves, applied for a spirit licence, but it was opposed by Messrs Bartram of the Red Lion Inn, on the other side of the road. In support of the application Mr Warner stated the “White Hart was only a few doors from the new public hall, now in course of erection; it was greatly used by farmers and dealers attending the cattle market; had stabling accommodation for about 30 horses; and the applicants supplied as many as 100 dinners on market days”. Unfortunately, the Bench refused the application, as they considered there was already a sufficient number of licenced houses in Tonbridge.
Last month’s newsletter reported on Thomas Tomey, the whitesmith residing in Tonbridge, stealing a brass candlestick from the Dorset Arms. However, this was not the only misdemeanour that Mr Tomey committed. He was also charged at the Petty Sessions in May 1860 for the theft of a brass bottle-jack from Mr S Springett, of the White Hart beer-house, Tonbridge, which formed the subject of a second charge. The prisoner pleaded guilty to both charges, and was committed for 14 days on each.
So, what eventually became of the White Hart? Tonbridge Historical Society have records of the White Hart Inn being a public house from 1856 until 1941. From 1943-49 it is logged as Collins and Shorrocks, Auctioneers. The next recorded date is 1951 when the plot is logged as vacant. This area, even in the mid 1960’s formed quite a bustling part of the town, as seen in this photo. Since then many of these buildings have either been demolished or renovated. The former White Hart, and the two shops to its left have been extensively renovated to form Blair House, currently IML Group PLC, publishers. A successful renovation project, but alas the character of the old watering house and surrounding area has long gone.
(Acknowledgements: Tonbridge Historical Society, Tonbridge Daily, Dover Kent Archives)


Another version of an old favourite.
Carrot Wine, TV Times - Make your own Wine
4 lb carrots          1 lemon, peeled rind & juice
1 gallon water      2 oranges, grated rind & juice
3½ lb sugar          1 grapefruit, grated rind & juice
8 oz raisins           1 teasp pectic enzyme
Nutrient               Sherry yeast
Scrub and grate the carrots. Boil for 10 minutes with the water and fruit rinds. Strain into a fermentation bin and when cool add the pectic enzyme. Cover and leave for 24 hours. Add the sugar, chopped raisins, fruit juices, nutrient and yeast. Cover and leave in a warm place to ferment for 2 weeks, stirring daily. Strain into a demijohn and proceed in the normal way.
NB Keep this wine for 1 year before drinking.


Last month’s newsletter included an article on cherry brandy, which is one of the ingredients used in this cocktail. A delicious combination of flavours.
Blood and Sand
25 ml Scotch whisky
25 ml sweet vermouth
25 ml cherry brandy
25 ml orange juice
Add all the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake sharply, then strain into a martini glass.


This makes a special treat, ideally to be enjoyed with a glass of rum!


4 oz wholemeal flour

2 oz oatmeal

2 oz cornflour

½ teasp cream of tartar

½ teasp bicarbonate of soda

3 or 4 teasp ground ginger

5 oz butter

2 dessertsp golden syrup

5 oz soft brown sugar

In a blender, whizz together the flour, oatmeal, cornflour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate soda and ginger, with the butter (cubed into 1” pieces). It should be “breadcrumb like” at this stage. Add the syrup and sugar and whizz again.

Turn into a greased baking tin and press it flat. It should be about ½” in thickness.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 130oC (fan) for 35 mins (no longer). Remove from oven and allow to cool. Before fully cool, cut into slices (as desired). Do not allow the knife to penetrate completely to the bottom of the slices – do this when fully cold. That is, just deeply score them at the warm stage.

When cold, carefully prise the slices out of the tin. Store in an airtight container.


The World’s Oldest Brewery traced to Ancient Egypt

Daily Telegraph: A large scale brewery has been uncovered by a joint Egyptian-American team of archaeologists at a funerary site in southern Egypt. The brewery was thought to date from the reign of the Egyptian king Narmer who ruled more than 5,000 years ago. Interestingly British archaeologists discovered this brewery in the early 20th century, but its location was never precisely recorded. This site has been unearthed by the joint Egyptian-American team. It is believed to be the oldest high-production brewery in the world with 8 large areas which were used as units for beer production. Each unit contained about 40 earthenware pots arranged in 2 rows. A mixture of grains and water used for beer production was heated in the vats, with each basin held in place by levers made of clay, placed vertically in the form of rings. Beer would have been produced on the scale of approx 22,400 litres at a time. 

Matthew Adams, an archaeologist from New York University, who leads the joint mission with Deborah Vischak of Princeton University, said the brewery “may have been built in this place specifically to supply the royal rituals that were taking place inside the funeral facilities of the kings of Egypt”. 


Bordeaux Space Cru

Daily Telegraph: A select group of wine connoisseurs are going to be given a Bordeaux that is literally out of this world to sample.

A case of reds from a single producer and of one vintage spent 438 days orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station with 320 vine canes as part of an experiment. Each bottle was packed in a steel cylinder to prevent breakage. The wine re-entered the atmosphere in January 2021 and will be compared with a control sample. The vine canes, half merlot, half cabernet sauvignon, will be tested for any DNA changes that could have occurred. The aim is to see how space radiation and microgravity affect wine during the ageing process. The results will hopefully assist agricultural research, according to Space Cargo Unlimited, which conducts research projects in zero gravity. Plants that can survive these conditions may be better able to thrive in hotter and harsher environments produced by climate change.

This is not the first occasion that wine has travelled in space. In 1985 Jean-Michel Cazes, owner of Château Lynch-Bages, gave Patrick Baudry, a French astronaut, a bottle of its 1975 vintage for a Space Shuttle launch in Houston. It returned safely and remains unopened. 

CAMRA Newspaper available online only

Daily Telegraph: The last edition of What’s Brewing, the CAMRA newspaper, which has been distributed to members for 50 years, will only be available online in a revamped format after March. This move should save the organisation £130,000 a year and is part of a campaign to reinvent itself in order to appeal to younger beer drinkers. However, approx 25% of its members do not have internet access and could potentially resign, so losing the group far more money than it would save. Currently CAMRA has about 180,000 members.


Did you know?
Global Scotch whisky exports grew by 4.4% to £4.9 billion in 2019. Scotch is most popular in France (173 million bottles exported in 2019), India (131 million) and the USA (127 million).
Waitrose Weekend

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31.03 | 15:44

Hello, We have some demijohns and fermenting buckets, they are free of charge.If anyone would be interested please contact me.
Thank you

09.11 | 20:18

Thank you for your kind offer of the wine rack. Unfortunately Rainham is rather a long way to travel, as many of us live in Tonbridge.
Best wishes,

09.11 | 19:34

Hello I was a wine maker many years ago and have a 90 bottle wine rack for FREE if anyone can collect from Rainham Kent

09.09 | 18:31

Looks yummy! You list garlic in the ingredients list, but I don’t see where you add it to the recipe. I would guess that you add it to the partially sautéed oni

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