Woodbine Cottage

At the auction in 1870 of the estate of John Ladd, Landlord of the Crown Inn, Peter Decent (Dover Trinity House Pilot) bought two pieces of land adjacent to Sandwich Road and next to his house (current No 15). He paid £73 pounds for the two plots, one of 34 perches, the other of 38 perches. The latter was sold in 1872 to George Moore (a Butler) and a house erected on it (Industria or Beehive Cottage, current No 21 Sandwich Road). Following Peter Decent’s death in February 1889, his executors (his daughter Caroline Decent and son in law William Norman who was a baker and confectioner) sold the 34 perch plot to Emma Holladay of Barfrestone for £50. Emma quickly had a house, Woodbine Cottage (which is the current No 17) built on the plot. To finance all of this Emma took out a mortgage with Caroline Belcher of Dover for £100 plus interest (of £5% pa). One of the conditions set by Caroline Belcher was that Emma insure the property against fire for at least £100 and that the certificate be produced on demand. As there was no mains electricity or gas at this time, all heating and cooking was undertaken on open fires and all lighting by candles or oil lamps. There was thus a great fear of fire destroying property hence the stipulation specifically for fire insurance. In 1800 and again in 1820, for example, outbreaks of fire in the densely populated parts of Chatham had destroyed 95 homes and 53 homes and 13 warehouses respectively. Emma was also not allowed to lease or alter the property under the mortgage terms. Emma paid off the mortgage in 1894 and hence was free to lease the property if she so wished. A fire certificate exists for the property for 1899 to 1900 and is attached. Emma had now insured the house against fire for £300 pounds. The local office for the “County Fire Office” was 15 Snargate Street, Dover. From the certificate it would appear that Emma is now living in Upper Walmer and so it could be assumed she is leasing Woodbine Cottage, but it is not known to whom.
Vince Croud