September Newsletter


19 members attended the 49th AGM.  The committee thank Gerald for taking the minutes.  The accounts and all other matters were duly proposed, seconded and unanimously approved.

Our 2021-22 programme covers a 7-month period and mainly comprises tasting evenings, plus a Christmas party and an outside speaker in March, who will be giving a talk on Cranbrook windmill. It will not be possible to run wine and beer competitions during this session due to coronavirus restrictions.  

Geoff’s 3½ year chairmanship has finally come to an end and Chris Powis will be leading us at the helm. Many thanks to Geoff for his efficient running of the club throughout normal and abnormal times. Geoff will certainly go down in club annals as being the longest serving chairman. Chris has kindly volunteered to remain as treasurer, with Philip Bisson providing his expertise as assistant treasurer. We are also very pleased to welcome Les Bates back onto the committee. The 2021-22 Committee comprises:

Chairman & Treasurer: Chris Powis; Secretary: Cathy Rishman; Assistant Treasurer: Philip Bisson; Committee Members: Les Maskrey, Geoff Rishman and Les Bates.

The meeting coincided with Tom’s birthday. Many thanks to Tom for bringing along the wine, which we enjoyed after the AGM.

AGM Competition Awards

WoE Cup (most points in WoE competitions): 1st Tom Rix, 2nd Les Maskrey, 3rd Cathy Rishman

Moffat Cup (most points in all other competitions):

1st Cathy Rishman, 2nd Tom Rix, 3rd Bob Dye

West Kent Cup (biggest increase in Moffat points):

1st Cathy Rishman, 2nd Bob Dye, 3rd Les Maskrey

Master Brewer Tankard (most points for beer competitions): 1st Les Bates, 2nd Geoff Rishman

Wine of the Evening Raffle

1st Andrew Stanhope, 2nd Les Maskrey, 3rd Bob Dye


To get our new programme underway Chris Powis will be presenting a tasting evening aptly called “The Chairman’s Selection”. Don’t forget to bring a tasting glass and nibbles (if required).   


The demise of the Primrose Inn makes my blood boil! We too often excuse the actions of those in power in the 1960’s and 1970’s for the demolition of the Elizabethan terrace of shops next to the Chequers and replacing it with a bus shelter or the flattening of the Bull Inn for the ugly building currently housing Peacocks. We nod our heads sadly saying it was a case of “out with the old and in with the new” in those days and certainly something which would not be allowed to happen now. How wrong we were! In 2019 the Primrose Inn, situated at the top of Pembury Road, was demolished to make way for a block of houses and flats.

It is believed that this traditional Kentish white weather-boarded building dates back to the 1820’s and has been in use as a pub for at least 150 years. The first record of the Primrose Inn lists Henry Towner as landlord in 1871. In its early years it was known as the “Primroses”. The Kent and Sussex Courier reported that a temporary licence has been issued to Mrs Bridges of the Primroses in 1873. In 1889 the Kent and Sussex Courier reported Mr G. D. Bridges, of the Primroses, Tonbridge, was granted an hour’s extension for a club dinner.

Unfortunately in recent years the pub could not compete with current trends and the interior needed to undergo major improvements. The pub closed on 25 August 2018. A council report said trading figures demonstrated there was little hope of the pub being reopened as a viable watering hole. In January 2019 a planning application to demolish the building was promptly approved. It may seem unbelievable that the 200 year old building was allowed to be demolished, but it was not a Listed Building on the national register.  Apparently Tonbridge and Malling is one of the few authorities in England that does not have its own Local List of Heritage Assets, which can provide added protection for buildings such as this.

(Acknowledgements: Dover Kent Archives, Tonbridge Historical Society)


This cocktail makes an interesting twist on the Brazilian drink and is well worth the extra preparation time.

Raspberry Caipirinha

150g raspberries

4 heaped tbsp light brown sugar

2 limes, each cut into 8 wedges

16 mint leaves, roughly torn,

plus extra to serve

Crushed ice, to serve

175ml white rum

Set 12 raspberries aside. Divide the rest among 4 heavy bottomed tumblers, together with the sugar and lime wedges and pound with a pestle (alternatively pour it all into the mortar) until the juice from the limes and berries has run and is fully mixed with the sugar.

Add 4 mint leaves to each glass and give them a quick bash, then fill the glasses with crushed ice. Pour over the rum and stir until the red juices and alcohol start to mix. Top the cocktails with the reserved raspberries and more torn mint leaves. (Serves 4)


September is the perfect time for making chutneys.  Geoff made this chutney in 2018, the inspiration came from a Dave Daykin recipe. It was delicious!

Damson and Fig Chutney

4 lb damsons

3 x 200 g packets of dried figs

3 limes

3 oz crystallised ginger

2 Scotch bonnet chillies, seeds removed & finely chopped

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp allspice berries (to give a little extra texture when coarsely ground)

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp yellow mustard seeds

1 lb soft brown sugar

1 pt malt vinegar

Stew the damsons, in enough water to cover, for approx. 20 mins until soft and pulpy. Strain off the cooking liquor into a separate pan. De-stone the damsons (an easy task now). Concentrate the cooking liquor by boiling down by ⅔. Place damson pulp in a large preserving pan. De-stalk the figs, chop each one into 4 and add to the damson pulp. Top and tail the limes and chop each one into 4 pieces. Add these to the fruit in the pan – skin and all. Add the ginger and the ground up spices. Add the powdered allspice and the sugar. Boil up with the concentrated damson liquor. Maintain a gentle simmer for about 2 hours, then add the vinegar. Continue to boil until the mixture is a deep luscious brown colour and has a syrupy consistency. This may entail another hour or two.

Note: At frequent intervals, give the mixture a stir with a wooden spoon. It has a tendency to catch on the bottom of the pan. Try to avoid this.

Have 5 or 6 pickling jars sterilising in a hot oven. When the chutney is ready, fill these jars whilst still hot. Put the caps on immediately and allow the chutney to cool to room temperature.

Spa Valley Railway Beer Festival: 1st to 3rd October

Fri & Sat 11 am - 10.30 pm, Sun 11 am - 6 pm

Life is beginning to return to normal and this quirky beer festival is taking place again. A different beer festival will be held at Tunbridge Wells West, Groombridge and Eridge stations and also on the trains. The event includes: 150 real ales & 30 ciders, 20 green hop beers, a gin bar, food stalls, live entertainment and, of course, steam and diesel trains.


French Wine Production at its lowest level since 1970

Daily Mail: The French wine industry, which is already suffering from the impact of the pandemic and US tariffs, also faces a severe loss in production as a result of spring frosts and summer downpours. In its first outlook for national wine output, the French farm ministry projected 2021 production at between 32.6 million and 35.6 million hectolitres, 24-30% less than last year. A hectolitre is the equivalent of 100 litres or 133 standard wine bottles. Production output would be lower than the poor years of 1991 and 2017. This year’s output will be the lowest since 1970 when nearly all production was affected by frosts.

(Article kindly supplied by Jan Powis)


Cheaper NZ Wines in the Offing

Sunday Times: Cheaper wines from New Zealand could be heading our way before too long due to “good progress” in talks to secure a free trade deal. Varieties such as sauvignon blanc and pinot noir currently face tariffs of up to 20p per bottle.


Geoff and I took a day trip on the Spa Valley Railway and saw this old advert at Tunbridge Wells West station. It reminded me of the article in the February 2021 newsletter on Kent cherry brandy.

Incidentally, we recommend the Crown Inn at Groombridge for lunch.

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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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