Duncan’s Place

Art exhibition with a difference in Tonbridge

An unusual venue was the location for the latest 4Art exhibition in March 2019 when the group showed a range of contemporary art at R Allen Ltd, 18 Lyons Crescent, Tonbridge in buildings that have now been demolished.

Local residents will know this address as the motor engineers run by Duncan Welch, whose family owned the business for 71 years. The premises were used originally as a repairers 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 were workshops and outbuildings used for storage where little was thrown away over the years and this was the inspiration for the 4Art artists – machinery, tools, spare parts and paraphernalia reflecting the progress of the car through the decades.

Duncan Welch has now retired and R Allen Ltd ceased trading at the end of March and the riverside site is due to be developed.

The 4Art group spent the previous two years exploring this historic site. From the sketches and drawings we made there emerged a wide range of contemporary art. Paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures reflected the atmosphere and history of a remarkable business and buildings that stood the test of time. The exhibition was called Duncan’s Place.