Page Updated:- Sunday, 07 March, 2021.



Tom Solley


From an email sent to me from Lynne Burlington, 4 October, 2009.

I have just come across the website for the Hope Inn, Lydden and was amazed to find photos there that I recognized, especially that of my grandparents Tom and Ethel Solley. They were indeed licensees of the Hope Inn (I think from about 1926). I am not sure about the couple with them - it could be relatives, although I do not recognise them - or friends or customers.

I also have another two photos of the military manoeuvres. These I believe to have been taken by my late father Bill Solley, who was a keen photographer.

After my parents died in the late 1990s, I inherited their collection of family photos and negatives. These include more photos of the Hope Inn with other relatives, friends, neighbours and regular customers. Again I can identify a few people, but the majority are unknown. I also inherited a cast iron table which came from the Hope. My parents used it in their garden and it has been used in our garden, although it now resides in our garden shed!


Tom Solley (Thomas Walter) was born in 1882, at Potts Farm, Ash-next-Sandwich, son of William and Charlotte Solley. He was one of the youngest children in a large family of brothers and sisters (William and Charlotte later became Custodians of Richborough Castle and lived in an ex-army hut on the site). Tom married Ethel May Sidders (born Canterbury 1889) in December 1913. He seems to have been a bit of a Jack-of-all trades. During the First World War he was a Grocer in Bench Street, Dover. At some point he also worked for the man who later became Lord Brabazon at his home in Sandwich (apparently my father used to wear his children's hand-me-downs when he was little). He also worked at Watersend, probably before taking over the Hope. I think they lived in a cottage there and Dad went to Temple Ewell school (I have several school photos), before going on to Dover County School for Boys in about 1925.

After Tom and Ethel left the Hope Inn, they moved to Heckfield near Reading to be closer to my parents. They married at St Mary's, Lydden in April 1938 and went to live in Woodley just outside Reading, where Dad worked for Miles Aircraft. Mum's maiden name was Marjorie Vaughan and she lived at Rosemount, Canterbury Road, Lydden. Towards the end of the War, Tom and Ethel moved back to Eastry (2 Model Cottages), where Tom died in April 1945. Ethel remained there for some years and ran a small sweet/cake shop from a lean-to beside the cottage, before moving to Ramsgate for a few years and then to Coopers Houses, Lower Chantry Lane, Canterbury. She died in 1975.


Lynne Burlingham