Historically, there have always been towns and villages that have had a dark past. Some have been home to notorious criminals known for their participation in gang warfare. Others have been host to fraudsters, ‘conmen’ and shady characters of all kinds. Tatsfield will no doubt have had its fair share of such residents over the decades. The 1950s began in Tatsfield with the defection to the Soviet Union of the Foreign Office diplomat, Donald Maclean, who lived in Beaconshaw on the Approach Road, but it wasn’t until later in the decade that a Tatsfield gang was formed whose activities would not come to a halt until the late 1970s.
This was the Paynesfield Road Gang. It hit the local headlines for the best of reasons. Its flair, ingenuity and enthusiasm attracted a whole generation of Tatsfielders who often became the stars of the Westerham Carnival, a couple of miles down the road from Tatsfield.
Made up of plywood formers and wire netting, and then covered with layers of newspaper and ‘gunge’, the floats were kept on various verges along Paynesfield Road. This made them amazingly strong and they could easily be repaired. Wives and girlfriends helped make costumes.
This rather well-worn Super 8 film indicates what passengers on a Green Line bus would have come across as Tatsfield's entry for the Westerham Carnival in 1967 made its way out of the village. After viewing the 1967 scroll well down and click where indicated for the 1971 entry.
Click here for the 1971 entry.