Time Travel - Tunbridge Wells

An intriguing story featured in a 1970 issue of Man, Myth and Magic told of the experience of Mrs Charlotte, an old age pensioner who stepped back into the past and only later discovered that she had seen a room that had not existed for many years.

It was in June 1968 that she and her husband went shopping in the town centre and arranged to meet, after completing their own purchases, for coffee in a department store in the High Street.

Unable to purchase a particular item of grocery from the normal supplier, Mrs Charlotte decided to try a self-service store in Calverley Road. She was unlucky, but on looking round for a substitute product, noticed an archway in one wall which ld to a small restaurant. The room was panelled in dark mahogany, but there were no windows, the light being provided by a few bulbs with frosted glass shades.

'Two women in rather long dresses were sitting at one table and about half a dozen men, all in dark lounge suits, were sitting at other tables further back in the room. All the people seemed to be drinking coffee and chatting, a normal sight for a country town at 11 o'clock in the morning.'

What struck Mrs Charlotte as peculiar was that she never realised that such a cafe existed in the store, there was no smell of coffee and although the customers seemed to be talking, she heard no sound.

She left without stopping for a cuppa, but told her husband about her discovery, and they agreed to sample the wares of 'the new restaurant' on their next shopping day.

The following week they arrived at the store but were unable to locate the entrance to the restaurant area. On enquiry they were told that the shop never had a cafe and that they were in the wrong building.

The couple spent many minutes searching the road for the mysteriously vanished lounge and finally learnt of a small cinema, the Kosmos, which had stood on the site, and which, it was thought, boasted of a small cafe for the benefit of its patrons. Determined to get the full story Mrs Charlotte contacted the club steward of the Constitutional Club which had once owned premises adjoining the cinema. He confirmed that the club had been approached by a door, now incorporated into the self-service store, and a flight of stairs. There was an assembly room and to the rear of that was a small bar with tables for refreshments and the serving of coffee. The description of that room exactly fitted that given to Mrs Charlotte, but the bar, the cinema and the club had all vanished in the development of the road many years before.
Sent in by Martin Tapsell

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