Tunbridge Wells :
PUBLISHED BY AUBREY J. PELTON, THE BROADWAY.
ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS owes its origin to the discovery of the chalybeate springs by Dudley, Lord North, in 1606. Lord North was a gay and dissolute member of the Court of King James I. His impaired health was the cause of his seeking the salutary seclusion of Eridge Castle, the seat of Lord Abergavenny. Here he passed, a portion of the summer of the year 1606. During his visit he noticed in a wooded hollow a stream of water with a shining mineral scum upon it. From its peculiar ferruginous taste it occurred to him that it might possess particular medicinal properties. London physicians were consulted, who agreed that a valuable discovery had been made, and encouraged the young nobleman to test by his own experience the efficacy of this chalybeate water. Accordingly, in the following summer, Lord North returned to Eridge, drank the waters, and was completely restored to health. He died in 1666 at the advanced age of 85. Lord Abergavenny took a warm interest in the newly-discovered springs, two of which were provided with wells enclosed with wooden rails.
Visitors to the wells found no suitable accommodation in the immediate neighbourhood, and were obliged to lodge at Tonbridge, Frant or Speldhurst. Kilburne, in his "Survey of Kent" (1659), says: "In this parish are those famous waters called by some Fant Wells and by others Tunbridge Wells, so much resorted unto and drunk by the nobility and gentry of this nation : coming hither for that purpose from several parts yearly in the summer, and more especially in the months of July and August."
An interesting allusion is also made to the place in Evelyn's Diary, dated August I5th, 1661. " I went to Tunbridge Wells, my wife being there for the benefit of her health. Walking about the solitudes I greatly admired at the extravagant turnings and insinuations and growth of certain birch trees among the rocks."
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the wells and the town that had grown up about them rapidly rose into favour. In 1630 Queen Henrietta wife of Charles I spent six weeks at Tunbridge Wells. The royal camp was pitched at Bishop's Down, there being no accommodation at the Springs. Catherine of Braganza also was a frequent visitor. In 1663 it is recorded that her camp consisted of about 40 tents for the expenses of which the sum of 2,590/0/3 was authorized by Royal Warrant. Count Hamilton has left us the following interesting description : "All that is considered handsome and gallant in either sex resorts here in the water season; the company always numerous is always select, for those who only seek diversion always exceed in number those who come hither of necessity. Everything there breathes pleasure and joy. Constraint is banished; intimacy is established at the first acquaintance. People . . . assemble in the morning at the wells - a large alley of thick bowering trees, under which they walk while drinking the waters. On one side of the alley stands a long row of shops (booths ?) stocked with all kinds of trinkets, laces, stockings, and gloves, where you can play as at the French fair. On the other side of the alley is the market, and as every one goes there to choose and buy provisions, you never see there any offal of a disgusting kind. But you meet pretty village lasses, fair and fresh, with linen very clean and white, little straw hats, and neat in shoes " and stockings, who sell game, vegetables, flowers, and fruit. You get as good living there as you can desire. As soon as night falls, every one leaves the little palaces, for the assembly on the Bowling Green, where you may dance if you like in open air, on turf more soft and firm than the smartest carpets in the world."
The principal street or avenue adjoining the springs was originally paved with square bricks or tiles - hence the name - the Pantiles. In 1793 it was paved with Purbeck stone. The derivation of the name " Pantiles " is attributed by some to the colonnade being roofed with curious " curved tiles ". The original name given by all the old Guides of the town was " The Walks ".
During the eighteenth century in the list of visitors to Tunbridge Wells are to be found many distinguished names, such as Richardson the novelist, Handel the great composer, Dr. Johnson, Colley Gibber, Garrick, the Earl of Ghatham, etc.
During the nineteenth century a great change came over the town, for at the present time the population is largely residential, although during the " season" (from Easter to the end of September) there is an ever increasing number of visitors.
THE CHALYBEATE SPRING
is situated at the eastern end of the Pantiles and belongs to the Lord of the Manor of Rusthall, who employs " dippers" to attend daily at specified hours to serve the water in glasses to those who wish to drink it.
The following is the report of Mr. Thomas Stevenson, Lecturer on Chemistry at Guy's Hospital, obtained by the Council of the Borough :
"This is an excellent chalybeate water of great purity. t contains the iron altogether in the state of ferrous "carbonate (protocarbonate of iron), the form which is most preferred where a mild and non-astringent chalybeate is desired, as most easy of digestion and assimilation. On comparing the above analysis with "the complete analysis made in May, 1857, by Mr. J. "Thompson, and in January, 1872, by myself, I find that the composition of the water has not varied to any material extent; and it may be concluded that the Tunbridge Wells chalybeate spring yields a water of nearly constant temperature and uniform composition at all seasons of the year; and, moreover, a water of pleasing appearance, complete limpidity, absolute purity, and with entire absence of disagreeable styptic taste. This last quality is of great advantage when the water is drunk for medicinal purposes for a lengthened period."
Of course the first place to which the visitor will be attracted is the Pantiles, as there is nothing exactly corresponding to this promenade in any other English watering-place. It dates from 1638, but was destroyed by fire in 1687, and then entirely rebuilt. It is about 660 feet in length, and although many changes have been made, some of the houses are practically unaltered. During the season first-class orchestral and regimental bands give concerts morning, afternoon and evening. The Pantiles is frequently illuminated by electric lamps of many colours which heighten the effect of the gay and animated scene. The Pump Room situated at the west end of the Pantiles, contains smoking and reading rooms for the use of visitors.
Visitors should see the Church of King Charles the Martyr at the east end of the Pantiles. This is the oldest Church in the town, and was completed in 1684. The ceiling which is very remarkable being covered with floral mouldings, most unusual in a place of worship, and there is a very fine stained glass window at the east end. Queen Victoria attended this Church early in the TQth century, and there is a tablet on the gallery placed there in consequence.
This magnificent open space is about 180 acres in extent and its general altitude about 400 feet above sea level. The air is alway fresh and bracing, and the views from the highest points are exceptionally fine and extensive. It is covered with light springy turf, bracken, gorse, and a profusion of wild flowers. There are two cricket grounds upon it - the upper and the lower. There are three groups of rocks, named as follows : - the northern, Gibraltar; the centre, Mount Edgecumbe, and those near the upper cricket ground, the Wellington Rocks, from their proximity to the hotel of that name. Previous to 1736 there were encroachments. In that year, however, an act was passed providing that no building should thenceforward be erected on the Common except with the consent of the Lord and Tenants of the Manor, since which time the most watchful jealousy has checked and frustrated any attempt at encroachment.
A Charter of Incorporation was granted to Tunbridge Wells in 1889, and it was made a Royal Borough in 1909.
The excellence of the sanitary arrangements and the magnificent water supply, in conjunction with many other advantages, have made it one of the healthiest towns in the United Kingdom. For ten years the average death rate was only 12'5 per 1000, while in 1908 it was as low as 11'3 per 1000.
The population in 1911 was 35,697.
Tunbridge Wells is very fortunate in having first-rate railway facilities, being served by the L.B. & S.C. and S.E. & C. Railways. The train service between Tunbridge Wells and London is particularly good, the journey taking less than an hour.
BOROUGH OF ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS.
The Council consists of the Mayor, elected annually; eight Aldermen, elected for six years; and twenty-four Councillors, eight of whom retire each year.
Town Clerk : W. C. Cripps, Esq., J.P.
Deputy Town Clerk : Mr. W. F. Bellamy.
Offices : Town Hall, Calverley Road.
PUBLIC BUILDINGS, ETC.
The Great Hall and Public Rooms are opposite the S.E. & C.R. Station, Mount Pleasant Road. The Hall is 100 feet in length by 42 feet in width, and is 31 feet high in the centre. It is the most central building in the town, where bazaars, concerts and other entertainments take place, and will seat from 600 to 700 people. The Kent and Sussex Club occupies the whole of the first floor of the centre portion of the building.
The Opera House, Mount Pleasant, is an elegant theatre, decorated and fitted with taste, and quite up-to-date in every way, capable of seating 1200 people. First-class companies perform in the theatre, which is open all the year round.
Open Daily. -
The Camden Hall Electric Theatre, Camden Road.
The Kosmos Kinema, Calverley Road.
Picture Palace, Camden Road.
The Pump Room Buildings, situated at the western end of the Pantiles, contain a number of rooms suitable for balls, at homes, meetings and other entertainments.
The Technical Institute in Monson Road is an imposing stone and red-brick building, erected by the Corporation from the designs of Mr. H. T. Hare, F.R.I.B.A., at a cost of £ 20,000, and opened by Lord Avebury, in ,902. It contains workshops, class-rooms, lecture halls, a laboratory, etc., and is devoted to the higher education of students, under the control of the Kent County Council Higher Education Committee.
The General Post Office, Vale Road, is a modern building specially designed to fulfil the requirements of the different departments ot the Postal Service of the Town. Telegraph and Telephone Call Offices (Trunk and Local).
BARCLAY & COMPANY, LTD., Opera House Buildings, Mount Pleasant and 38, the Pantiles.
THE CAPITAL & COUNTIES BANK, LTD., Opera House Buildings, Mount Pleasant. Sub-office : Great Hall Buildings
LLOYDS BANK, LTD., Mount Pleasant, and London Road (at the corner of Chapel Place).
THE LONDON, COUNTY & WESTMINSTER BANK, LTD., Mount Pleasant (opposite the South Eastern and Chatham Railway Station) with a Sub-office at 36. Mount Ephraim.
LONDON, CITY & MIDLAND BANK, LTD., 86, High Street.
UNION OF LONDON & SMITH'S, LTD., 49, MT. PLEASANT.
TRINITY CHURCH, Church Road, Mount Pleasant. Consecrated 1829. 1650 sittings, 800 of which are free, Register dates from 1829.
ST. BARNABAS' CHURCH, Stanley Road. Consecrated 1893. IOO° sittings, all free. Register dates from 1882.
CHRIST CHURCH, on the east side of High Street. Consecrated 1841. 1200 sittings, 500 being free. Register dates from 1841.
CHURCH OF KING CHARLES THE MARTYR, at the entrance to the Pantiles. Completed 1684, and since enlarged several times. 660 sittings, of which 250 are free. Register dates from 1745.
ST. JAMES' CHURCH, Sandrock Road. Consecrated 1862. 950 sittings, of which 450 are free. Register dates from 1862.
ST. PETER'S CHURCH, Bayhall Road. Built 1875, since which time considerable additions have been made. The only Church in Tunbridge Wells possessing a peal of bells (eight, by Messrs. Warner). 700 sittings, 270 being free. Register dates from 1876.
ST. MARK'S CHURCH, Broadwater Down; remarkable for its beauty of design and exquisite proportions, Italian-Gothic style of I4th century, of which very few examples are to be found in this country. Erected 1864-1866. Some of the stained glass is of exceptional merit. About 650 sittings, of which 120 are free. Register dates from 1867.
ST. JOHN'S CHURCH, St. John's Road, opened in 1858, 1000 sittings, of which 330 are free. Register dates from 1858.
ST. PAUL'S, RUSTHALL. Consecrated 1850; and recently enlarged. 500 sittings, 120 of which are free. Register dates from 1864.
ST. LUKE'S, Silverdale Road. Consecrated 1910. 500 sittings.
EMMANUEL CHURCH (Countess of Huntingdon's Connection), Mount Ephraim. Erected 1867, in succession to the old building opened by Whitfield in 1769. 700 sittings.
ST. AUGUSTINE'S CATHOLIC CHURCH, Grosvenor Road, built 1838. 400 sittings. The interior is artistically decorated. The stained glass is good.
THE BAPTIST TABERNACLE, Calverley Road. Erected 1892. 670 sittings.
CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, Mount Pleasant. Founded 1750. 800 sittings.
CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, Albion Road. HANOVER CHAPEL, Hanover Road.
MEETING HOUSE OF THE SOCIETY OF FRIENDS - Grosvenor Park.
WESLEYAN CHURCH, Vale Royal. Completed 1873. 780 sittings.
ST. JOHN'S FREE CHURCH, Grosvenor Road.
Jabez Scholes’ Congregational Church, York Road / Mount Pleasant, built in 1845-1848.
THE KENT AND SUSSEX CLUB, Great Hall, 14, Mount Pleasant Road.
THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS AND COUNTRIES CLUB, London Road.
BRIDGE HOTEL, Mount Pleasant Road.
CALVERLEY HOTEL, Crescent Road.
CARLTON HOTEL, Montacute Road.
CASTLE HOTEL, London Road.
CLARENDON HOTEL, Mount Pleasant Road.
EARL'S COURT HOTEL, Mount Ephraim.
GRAND HOTEL, London Road.
MARLBOROUGH PRIVATE HOTEL, Mount Ephraim.
MOLYNEUX PARK MANSIONS PRIVATE HOTEL, Molyneux Park.
NORFOLK HOTEL, Church Road.
ROYAL MOUNT EPHRAIM HOTEL, Mount Ephraim. in its own grounds.
SPA HOTEL, Langton Road.
SWAN HOTEL, Pantiles.
WELLINGTON HOTEL, Mount Ephraim.
Norfolk Hotel (1909 - 1959) was replaced by BT's Telephone House
THE GENERAL HOSPITAL, Grosvenor Road.
HOMEOPATHIC HOSPITAL AND DISPENSARY, Church Rd.
EYE AND EAR HOSPITAL, Mount Sion.
CONVALESCENT HOME FOR CHILDREN, Hawkenbury.
KENT NURSING INSTITUTION, Jerningham House, Mount Sion.
DISTRICT NURSING INSTITUTION, Holly Lodge, Crescent Road.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS AND RUSTHALL PROVIDENT DISPENSARY, 106, Upper Grosvenor Road.
ROYAL SURGICAL AID SOCIETY - Tunbridge Wells and District Branch - 66, Grove Hill Road.
READING ROOMS AND SOCIETIES.
The Publisher will be glad to inform visitors of the names and addresses of the secretaries of the various rooms, clubs, etc., on application at The Broadway, Tunbridge Wells.
DUDLEY INSTITUTE, Dudley Road. - Open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Fridays, until 10.30.
PANTILES READING ROOM. - Open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., except Wednesdays, when the library closes at 5 o'clock. The Reading Room is well supplied with papers and periodicals.
THE PUMP ROOM, PANTILES. - Open daily during the summer mon,ths from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 p.m., for the use of Visitors, as Smoking and Reading Rooms, etc. Admission 2d.
NATURAL HISTORY AND PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY. - Excursions are arranged during the summer and autumn, and lectures given during the winter months.
PHOTOGRAPHIC ASSOCIATION (TUNBRIDGE WELLS AMATEUR). - Club Room, Dudley Institute. Open daily. Excursions during the summer.
CHESS CLUB. - Club days : Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 3 p.m. till 10.30 p.m : and on Thursdays, from 3 to 6.30 p.m. Visitors admitted.
BLUE MANTLES CRICKET CLUB. - Ground : the Nevill Athletic Ground, Warwick Park.
LINDEN PARK CRICKET CLUB. - Matches are played on Upper Ground, The Common.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS CRICKET CLUB. - Visitors admitted at special rates on application to the Hon. Sec., Nevill Athletic Club, 65, High Street. The Matches are played on the Athletic Ground, Warwick Park.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS BOWLING CLUB. - Green - St. John's Recreation Ground.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS GROVE BOWLING CLUB. - Private Green - Grove Hill Road. Temporary Membership for visitors can be arranged.
There are also Bowling Greens at the Grosvenor Recreation Ground and Rusthall Common.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS FOOTBALL CLUB. - Ground : Charity Farm, Ferndale. Colours: Light and Dark Blue (stripes).
ROYAL ASHDOWN FOREST GOLF CLUB. - Situated at Forest Row, Sussex (18 holes).
THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS GOLF CLUB. - Langton Road (9 holes).
TUNBRIDGE WELLS NEVILL GOLF CLUB. - Near Frant Station (9 holes).
THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS CULVERDEN GOLF CLUB. - 18 holes. - Visitors may become temporary members on the following terms : 2/6 per day ; 3/- Saturdays and Sundays; one week, 10/6; fortnight, 15/-; one month, £1/1/-.
CROWBOROUGH BEACON GOLF CLUB. - 18 holes.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS LADIES' HOCKEY CLUB - Nevill Athletic Ground.
LAWN TENNIS AND CROQUET.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS CRICKET AND ATHLETIC CLUB, LIMITED. - Nevill Ground, Warwick Park. - Contains Cricket, Croquet and Hockey Grounds, and good Lawn Tennis Courts, which may be hired on application to the Hon. Managing Director, 65, High Street.
TUNBRIDGE WELLS LAWN TENNIS AND CROQUET CLUB. - Grounds situated in Nevill Athletic Grounds, Warwick Park. Visitors admitted as temporary members.
THE COMMON, 180 acres. RUSTHALL COMMON, 80 acres.
THE GROVE, Mount Sion, 4 1/2 acres.
THE GROSVENOR RECREATION GROUND. Opened in 1889. 8 acres in extent, containing tennis courts.
THE ST. JOHN'S RECREATION GROUND. - St. John's Road. 5 acres in extent, containing bowling green, tennis courts, etc.
NEVILL ATHLETIC GROUND, Warwick Park, on which County Cricket Matches are played during a week in July.
The open-air baths, about 300 feet long, close to the Grosvenor Recreation Ground, the depth of the water being from 3 feet to 10 feet.
The indoor public baths, in Monson road, the property of the Corporation, go feet long, the depth of water being 3 feet to 6 feet 6 inches. For times and prices apply at the Baths, and also for the special times set apart for ladies.
THE SKINNERS' SCHOOL, St. John's Road. Founded by the Worshipful Company of Skinners, and opened in 1887, providing accommodation for 200 boys. The buildings are handsome and complete. There are foundation scholarships, Atwell Scholarships, Skinners' Scholarships, Hunt and Atwell Exhibition, etc
THE HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS (Girls' Public Day School Trust, Ltd.), near Camden Park.
COUNTY SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, St. John's Road.
There are three packs of Fox Hounds in the district.
FISHING AND BOATING
can be had at the neighbouring town of Tonbridge, on the river Medway. Boats may be hired at the several landing stages.
Motor Coaches run daily to most of the places of interest in the neighbourhood, including : - Penshurst Castle, Bayham Abbey, Chiddingstone, Crowborough Beacon, Ash-down Forest, Maidstone, Hop District, Ightham, Sevenoaks, Brenchley, Horsmonden, Eridge Rocks, Wadhurst, Tice-hurst and Hawkhurst. The times and services frequently alter, but the current time table can be obtained from the owners of the cars.
The visitor to Tunbridge Wells should make a point of visiting the Hop Gardens, many of which are situated within easy distance from the town. The hop-picking usually begins about the end of August, and this is the best time to visit the gardens.
The hop plant (Humulus lupulus) was first introduced into Kent in the reign of Henry VIII, and for a long time the growth of the plant met with violent opposition, but this prejudice gradually disappeared. When ripe and ready for picking, whole families resort to the gardens and pluck the catkins into what are termed "bins". Payment is according to "tally", that is, so many bushels for a shilling. The hops are then taken to the oasthouse and dried upon a horsehair net in the cone, far above the fires at the base. Charcoal and brimstone are largely used in the process of drying. When sufficiently dried they are packed in bales, termed pockets, and are then ready for the market.
All the drives and walks to the following places, viz.: Brenchley, Paddock Wood, Tudeley, Capel, Pembury, Matfield, etc., will afford numerous opportunities for visiting the hop gardens. The hop picking generally begins about the end of August.
THE BROADWAY PRINTING WORKS,
AUBREY J. PEL.TON,
11. HIGH STREET. - TELEPHONE 207
York Road in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England
Information on history of York Road and Church Road .
Find photos, old maps and full texts of various books about Tunbridge Wells (1810, 1855, 1912, before 1946).
ALL YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS
CD-Rom: Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells
[ Edition 2003 - released January 2004 ]
Edition 2004 - released December 2004