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Plaxtol Local History Group

Discussion in 'Plaxtol' started by Discuss Ted, Oct 3, 2009. Replies: 0 | Views: 1586

  1. Discuss Ted

    Discuss Ted Member

    Plaxtol Local History Group


    Georgian Tunbridge Wells
    Our speaker Dr. Ian Beavis, Curator at Tunbridge Wells Museum gave a fascinating lecture full of contemporary quotations and enhanced by pictures, cartoons, advertisements and posters of the period.

    “The air in Tunbridge Wells is pure, the water is good, the houses are neatly furnished and the residents obliging”, wrote one of the fashionable visitors. From a small Saxon settlement next to the medieval manor at Rusthall, Tunbrige Wells grew to be the fashionable springtime spa in rural Kent. The dying Dudley Lord North in 1606, discovered the healthy properties of the waters when he came to recuperate from a dissipated London life, aged 25.

    Two years later the first well was sunk. Lodging houses sprung up in the four villages of Mount Ephraim, Mount Sion, Mount Pleasant and The Wells. These villages combined to become known as Tunbridge Wells incorporating the Saxon name of a settlement on the Medway.

    For the fashionable Georgian visitor in 1700’s the day started with paying the “dipper” for a cup of the orange-coloured well water, known to be full of iron. Some visitors drank up to 10 pints. A public breakfast was followed by a walk to the Assembly Rooms or to the coffee house.
    Good conversation was to be had there or at the booksellers. An orchestra playing in the Pantiles made pleasant listening whilst looking in the jewellers or millinery shops. Tea drinking took place in the afternoon and twice a week there was an evening ball for all classes, that is providing they adhered to the rules of decorum laid down by Beau Nash in 1735.

    But already there had been several royal visitors to the town. Queen Henrietta Maria came in the early seventeenth century and Queen Anne gave money to develop the Pantiles. Trees were planted to celebrate her coronation in 1702. We are fortunate that to this day that the Pantiles are still famous and still attract visitors from all over the world.

    At the end of the meeting we were able to view an interesting display, arranged by David Gurney, of late eighteenth century artifacts found at 2 Church Row.

    Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 13th October at 8pm when Dr. Helen Allinson will talk on Kentish Life in Victorian Times.

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