- Paddock Wood
infobox UK place
country = England
official_name= Paddock Wood
population = 8,263
shire_district= Tunbridge Wells
region= South East England
static_image_caption=St Andrew's Church
constituency_westminster= Tunbridge Wells
postcode_district = TN12
Paddock Wood is a small
townin Kent, England, about eight miles South Westof Maidstone. It is the centre for hopgrowing in Kent. The town featured in Charles Dickens' novel " Dombey and Son", and is mentioned (in passing) in David Nobbs' novel " The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
A railway station was opened here on
31 May 1842,cite book |last=Walker|first=Jack|title=Beginnings and Bygones of Old Paddock Wood|year=1985|publisher=J C Walker|location=Paddock Wood, Kent] on the South Eastern Railway main line from London via Redhill to Dover. There are two theories for the origin of the name "Paddock Wood"; it may have been derived from the nearby "Manor of Parrock", or from the nearby woodland and paddocks.
In 1847 cottages had begun to appear, and by 1851 a fairly sizeable community had developed, and in 1860 a church was built. The area around Paddock Wood has always had a history of hop farming, and in the growth of the town is partly due to the seasonal influx of hop pickers, and at the height of the season up to 8000 people would arrive to work on the farms.
9 December 1944near Faenza, Italy, a 22-year-old Captain in the British Army, John Brunt, whose parents came from Paddock Wood, held off a German counter-attack and remained behind while giving covering fire that enabled his men to safely withdraw, and was awarded the Victoria Cross. After the war the Kent Arms public house in Paddock Wood was renamed the John Brunt VC in his honour. In 1997 the pub gained new management, and changed its name to the Hooden Horse but was forced to revert the name after local outrage ("see main article John Brunt V.C. (public house)").
Paddock Wood today
The commercial areas of Paddock Wood are separated by the railway line.
To the South of the railway lies "Commercial Road" which runs North East/South West through the town, and is the main shopping street. At the North East end of the street is the entrance to the Railway Station. "Commercial Road" is home to the branches of several banks, a car dealership and a variety of take-aways, a restaurant and a number of small shops. To the East of "Commercial Road", runs "Maidstone Road". This road runs North to
Beltringand East Peckham, and South to Matfield, and is the main route into and out of the town.
To the North of the railway line lie the industrial areas. The Eldon Way Industrial Estate can be found to the East and is home to branches of
Initial City Linkand British Car Auctions, among others. To the West is the larger Transfesa Road & Paddock Wood Distribution Centre. This is the home to a number of companies including Norman Collett, CoolChain, Ketlon, Mack Multiples and a Whirlpool warehouse, which was destroyed in a large fire in early July 2005. [cite web|url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/kent/4651241.stm|title=BBC News - Warehouse collapsing after fire]
The town has two schools, Paddock Wood Primary School which was built in 1912, and which has approximately 600 pupils [cite web|url=http://www.paddock-wood.kent.sch.uk/our_school.htm|title=Paddock Wood Primary School - Our School] and Mascalls School, (originally a secondary school, but now a comprehensive), opened in 1956 which takes its pupils from
Brenchley, Matfield, Capel, Five Oak Green, East Peckham, Horsmonden, Lamberhurstand Yalding, as well as Paddock Wood itself. [cite web|url=http://www.mascalls.kent.sch.uk/about.html|title=Mascalls School - About Mascalls] The school has recently been extended with a purpose built Arts and Design block housing specialist facilities for Art, Music, Drama, Dance and Design Technology. A public art gallery has also been created which exhibits work from local and international artists.
On the outskirts of Paddock Wood sits
The Hop Farm Country Park. Until recently it was owned by the Whitbreadbrewery, but it is now a privately-owned country park, and boasts the world’s largest collection of Oast houses. [cite web|url=http://www.thehopfarm.co.uk/|title=The Hop Farm]
* [http://www.paddock-wood.kent.sch.uk/ Paddock Wood Primary School]
* [http://www.mascalls.kent.sch.uk/ Mascalls School]
* [http://www.localauthoritypublishing.co.uk/councils/paddockwood/listings.html Official Town Guide]
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