The Larkfield Society

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Local History Books

Wrens Cross Police Station History

Kent's first Chief of PoliceThe former headquarters of Kent County Constabulary is finally being redeveloped after lying empty for almost two decades.

Wrens Cross, on Upper Stone Street, Maidstone has fallen into disrepair since Kent County Council quit the site in 1997 and has been at the centre of several proposed developments.

Regeneration of the area was long delayed because at one stage KCC was considering a new road scheme through the town centre, which would have ploughed through the collection of buildings but lack of cash stopped the project.

Developers are building more houses and flats in this historical part of Maidstone.Wrens Cross Police Station Maistone 2

Copy of information available by clicking this link






The Story of Aylesford Church Organ. The people and the music from Victorian times to the present (2nd Edition: revised, enlarged and retitled)
book frontAuthor: Michael I Keays. Date: 2015.
Publisher: ENSO publishing, art and design, The Design Practice, Suite S7, Springfield House, Sandling Road, Maidstone ME14 2LP; T: 01622 755599. W:

ISBN: 978-0-9567194-2-3. Format: 17 cm x 23 cm; soft covers. 162 pages, including sixteen appendices, one of which is a bibliography; illustrated throughout in colour and black and white. Price £15. Available for £17 (inc p&p) from the author, Michael I. Keays, 2 The Beeches, Aylesford ME20 7RH; T: 01622 719589; M: 07831 246810; E:

Aylesford Church has a remarkable organ which had its 150th anniversary in 2015. It has 1240 pipes and is beautifully decorated on both the pipes and the panels. The church originally had a west end gallery, but it is not known if it was used for musicians. A barrel organ was purchased in 1838 and subsequently a harmonium was in use before the 1865 organ came. The company selected to build the new organ was based in Hull but had worked at Temple Church in London and had good railway links with the recently opened line between Hull and London and the lines down from London to Kent, and indeed they did much work in Kent. The cost was £270 which would have been about 20% less than London prices but the firm had a good reputation and made about thirty new organs a year. The inauguration of the new organ at Aylesford was presided over by the Bishop of Rochester and the organist of Rochester Cathedral played. A choir was formed at about this time and numbers increased to 27 voices (all male) in 1870. Later, numbers dropped and women first joined the choir in 1947. In 1988 they had 40 members and have appeared on TV. They are still strong today. There is an account of the organists, in one case the wife of the vicar. A large proportion of the book details works carried out on the structure of the organ, particularly the main works in 1897, an important advance in 1947 when an electric blower replaced manual pumping, and works in 1965 and 2015. In spite of the cost of upkeep, a pipe organ is still a better investment than an electronic one. This organ was expected to last at least 50 years when installed, and now 150 years later, it is expected to last a further 300-400 years with good maintenance. A great deal of research has gone into the production of this book for a rather specialist readership. Adrienne Rogers

The Story of Maidstone Zoo by Vickie Harris (Daughter of Ronald White)

maidstone-zooMaidstone Zoo at Cobtree Park was the creation of Hugh Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake, who was a remarkable man by any standard: Zoologist, Writer, Artist, Business Man, 12 times Mayor of Maidstone, and finally High Sheriff of Kent.
His Zoo gave pleasure to hundreds of thousands of people over a period of more than a quarter of a century, and is today remembered with affection by many, some young when Tyrwhitt-Drake opened it, others young when he closed it, and others again who worked in it. (Vickie Harris)
In 1994, after years of research and help from the Late Lady Edna Tyrwitt-Drake, those who worked for the Zoo, those with memories of the Zoo, Libraries, Newspapers and others, the book “The Story of Maidstone” by Vickie Harris was produced.
This popular book “The Story of Maidstone Zoo” has been out of print for some time but is now been made available to read on a computer. The CD contains a large number of additional pictures not used in the original book, and is available here

‘Searching for Ebony’

‘Searching for Ebony’ tells the story of life in a remote corner of Kent from Saxon times to the present day – and features more than 150 photographs, most of which have not been published before.

The book is now on sale at Tenterden and District Museum ( and is also available by mail-order, price £13.50 inc. postage to any UK address.

Published by the Kent Archaeological Society. Limited edition of 150 copies.

Order your copy from the Kent Archaeological Society c/o 2 Salts Avenue, Loose, Maidstone ME15 0AY, enclosing a cheque for £13.50 payable to Kent Archaeological Society. Please allow 21 days for delivery.



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