History of the Society

In the late 1960s Cyril Masterman, a retired gas engineer who is reputed to have invented the humble, but most useful, gas poker, came to live in Pembury and built himself a wood-tiled bungalow near the Priory at Longhill in Romford Road. The site had attractive views. He soon found, however, that Pembury was being invaded by developers with grandiose schemes for large scale housing estates

He wrote a Plan for Pembury, which was submitted, to the Tonbridge Rural District Council, which was at that time our Local Authority. This included a by-pass for the Maidstone Road with a fly-over at it’s crossing with Church Road. He appears to have had little support from the local authority and decided to try to form a Residents Association as a pressure group.

In 1973, partly because of the risk of confusion with the name of another village organisation, it was decided to change the name to the Pembury Society and recognition was sought from the Civic Trust. The Trust agreed to register the Society provided it was set up with a written Constitution approved by the Trust. This was done and the first formal meeting of the society took place in 1974.

There is an old adage about anybody, everybody, nobody and somebody. Everyone said something should be done about “it”. Everybody said somebody would do it, but although anybody could have done it, in the end nobody did it. But Cyril Masterman appreciated the threat to Pembury and did something about it. There were planning applications for large developments along the Maidstone Road and elsewhere and he advocated a tight boundary around the built-up area, the northern relief road and the protection of trees.

At the Appeal hearing on the Woodside Road development proposal, on of the developer’s advocates complained, quoting The Merchant of Venice, “the lady doth complain too much”. The lady in the case was our then chairman, Mrs Holland, but she was quick to retort “but she won her case”. This seemed to have some impact on the Inspector, the appeal was dismissed and Pembury was assured of some relief from the prospect of more estates of housing being developed. The Inspector was heard to remark that, for Pembury “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”.