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Article by Sarah Hamilton-Walker | 23rd February 2019

Duncan's Place, Tonbridge: History On Your Doorstep

An unusual venue will be the location for an art exhibition in March when four artists will be showing a range of contemporary art at R Allen Ltd, 18 Lyons Crescent in Tonbridge.

Local residents will know this address as the motor engineers run by Duncan Welch, whose family has owned the business for 71 years. The premises were used originally as a repairer for horse-drawn carriages from 1896-1938. Roy Allen then started the motor engineers, handing it over to the Welch family in 1947.

As well as the main building, there are workshops and outbuildings used for storage where little has been thrown away over the years and this has been the inspiration for the 4Art artists – machinery, tools, spare parts and paraphernalia reflecting the progress of the car through the decades.

Duncan Welch is now heading for retirement and R Allen Ltd will cease trading at the end of March – and the riverside site will be developed.

The 4Art group, Sue Vass, Marilyn Garwood, Jill Goldsworthy and Margaret Barrett, have spent the past two years exploring this historic site. From the sketches and drawings they have made has emerged a wide range of contemporary art that will now be displayed just before the site is demolished.

Paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures reflect the atmosphere and history of a remarkable business and buildings in Tonbridge that have stood the test of time – and the exhibition has been named Duncan’s Place.

• Duncan’s Place runs from 1st-15th March at R Allen Ltd, 18 Lyons Crescent, Tonbridge TN9 2EX, open every day 2nd-15th March from 11am-4pm. Meet the artists on Friday 1st March from 6pm-8pm. For more information, visit 4artkent.wordpress.com

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