Notable historic people


Edward Percy Barlow (1855-1912)

Edward Barlow (1855-1912) was the Chairman of Wiggins Teape, the paper making business based at the Buckland Mill in Dover. Under Barlow's chairmanship, Wiggins Teape became one of the leading manufacturers of quality papers, including the renowned Conqueror brand which first rolled off the presses at Dover in 1880. Wiggins Teape remained a major employer in Dover until the closure of the Buckland Mill in 2000.

Edward Barlow purchased the Kearnsey Court house and estate (now Russell Gardens) in 1900 following the death of its former owner, Alfred Leney, another prominent local businessman and owner of the Phoenix Brewery. Barlow commissioned the renowned Edwardian landscape architect, Thomas Mawson, to design the gardens.

Edward Barlow's wife, Alice Barlow (1860-1930), was also prominent in the local community as President of the Dover Women's Suffrage Society.

John Minet Fector (1754-1821)

Kearsney Abbey was built as a grand county house and estate by John Minet Fector (1754-1821), one of Dover's wealthiest businessmen.

In 1814 John Minet Fector assumed control of the family's private banking business, Fector & Co. which can trace its origins back to the merchant and shipping businesses of his uncle, Isaac Minet, a French Huguenot who arrived in Dover from Calais in 1685.

Following the Napeleonic Wars, John Minet Fector decided to build a new country house and estate to be called Kearsney Abbey. Unfortunately he died in 1821 before Kearsney Abbey had been completed, but it remained a family residence until 1844.

Fector & Co. went on to play a major role in the development of high street banking as we know it today. In 1842 the company was sold to the National Provincial Bank which went on to become the National Westminster Bank (NatWest).

Thomas Mawson (1861-1933)

Thomas Hayton Mawson (1861-1933) was the most celebrated landscape architect of the Edwardian era and a leading exponent of the Arts and Crafts Movement. The bulk of his work dates from 1890-1920.

Mawson's early career included setting up the Lakeland Nursery in Windermere. Such was its success that Mawson turned his attention to landscape design. His first commission was Graythwaite Hall on the shores of Lake Windermere. Mawson went on to have a long association with Cumbria, including designing the gardens at Brockhole which is today the home to the Lake District Visitor Centre.

Mawson worked on many prestigious garden, park and civic space projects across the world, including America, Canada, and Europe. In 1908 he won a competition to design the Peace Palace Gardens at The Hague. 

Russell Gardens (originally known as Kearsney Court Gardens) is a rare example of his work in south east England, and is believed to be one of his earliest independent commissions (circa 1901). Several set piece photographs of the gardens appear in Mawson's book, The Art and Craft of Garden Making.  

Unlike his contemporary, Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), Mawson took a more structural/architectural approach to garden design in which the planting was subordinate to the structure. This approach can be clearly seen in Russell Gardens in which his signature features - terracing, canal pond, boathouse and pergola bridges - are the focal points of the park.

In 1923 Mawson became the President of the Town Planning Institute and in 1929 the first President of the Institute of Landscape Architects.