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Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: March 2,2017


Visits by members of the Royal Family to Tunbridge Wells have been frequent since the 17th century. They have appeared in town on holiday and for special events, among which have been the laying of foundations stones to new buildings such as the Kent & Sussex Hospital ;The Royal Victoria Boys School and the opening of buildings such the Royal Victoria Place by Princess Diana.

Their arrival in the town is always looked forward to and a day of some celebration. Not surprisingly the local newspaper gave a detailed account of any visits.

This article features a visit to the town by the Duchess of York (later Elizabeth, The Queen Mum) on July 19,1932. The main focus of her arrival was to lay the foundation stone for the Kent & Sussex Hospital which was being built on St Johns Road as a replacement for the General Hospital on Grosvenor Road and the Ear and Eye Hospital. Shown below left is a view of the General Hospital and to its right is a view of the interior of the Ear and Eye Hospital.

While in the town she dined with the Marquis and Marchioness Camden at Bayham Abbey; visited the annual Tunbridge Wells and South East Counties Agricultural Show  in the showgrounds off Eridge Road, and inspected a guard of Honour of the 4th (Queen’s Own) Royal West Kent Regiment. It was a busy day and everywhere the Duchess went she was surrounded by large crowds. Many photographs were taken during her visit , among which were seven shown in the Kent & Sussex Courier with details of her visit and seven from the War & Peace website among a large selection of other photos taken of the town. The images from the Courier are of poor quality for reproduction but I have included them with this article. Fortunately those from other sources are quality images which I have included as well . Shown at the top of this section is a photo of the Duke and Duchess of York and their daughter princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II.


The headline of the article read “ The Duchess of York at Tunbridge Wells-Lays Foundation Stone of The New Hospital-Great Welcome by Enormous Crowds-Miles of Smiles-The Duchess’s Captivating Charm-A Memorable Occasion”.

“A blaze of sunshine and colour and thousands of enthusiastic people provided a Royal Welcome to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of York when she visited Tunbridge Wells on Tuesday to lay the foundation stone of the new Kent & Sussex Hospital, and later paid a visit to the Agricultural Show. It was Her Royal Highness’s first public visit to the town, and her captivating charm left a lasting impression in the hearts of dense crowds who wildly cheered and applauded her as she motored slowly through the main streets to the new Hospital site. Attended by the Lady Helen Graham, and accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, the Marquis Camden, and the Marchioness Camden,Her Royal Highness was met at the borough boundary by the Mayor (Alderman Albert Dennis to pass through avenues of colour and admiring crowds.”

“At every vantage point the Duchess was given a wonderful ovation ,which she acknowledged with charming smiles which delighted a warm-hearted public. There were miles of smiles from St John’s Road, Grosvenor Road, Mount Pleasant, High Street, London Road to Mount Ephraim where Her Royal Highness was cheered to the echo before entering the gates of the Hospital site, where she was met by the Marquis and Marchioness of Abergavenny.”

“Another great welcome was given Her Royal Highness as she walked to the pavilion with the Marquis Camden, and following the ceremony there were other demonstrations of loyalty and affection. The dedication ceremony was performed by the Bishop of Rochester, and after the Duchess had received purses on behalf of the Building Fund it was announced by Alderman Snell ,Chairman of the New Hospital Building Committee, that in response to the special appeals made by the Marquis Camden and the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells sums amounting to 14,700 pounds had been received, which was within 300 pounds of what the Committee had hoped they might receive.Another 11,000 pounds is needed to complete the building of the main hospital, and 31,000 pounds for the Nurses Home.”

“Her Royal Highness afterwards motored to Bayham Abbey, where she had lunch with the Marquis and Marchioness Camden, and in the afternoon she was again accorded a great welcome by a large crowd at the Agricultural Show”.

The article continues with a detailed account of the day’s events and a report on the funds raised for the new Hospital. This article can be found at the Tunbridge Wells Library for those interested in the details in what is a very long but interesting account.

The town certainly spared no effort in welcoming the Dutchess for as the Courier noted  “Every stitch of bunting in the town must have been used”……. She was met with “enthusiastic cheers and the waving of flags and handkerchiefs as she proceeded along the route to the new Hospital”. “Welcome to our Duchess” signalled a trailing streamer in St John’s Road, and “Welcome” echoed a banner at the Memorial Fountain. The fountain itself had been transformed into an island of red, white and blue flowers through the ingenuity of Messrs G.I. Adams Ltd. In a garden adorned by a solitary Union Jack the white rose of York bloomed in profusion”.


The first event for the Duchess was on the morning of July 19,1932 when she inspected a guard of honour of the 4th (Queen’s Own) Royal West Kent Regiment.

In the photo below left she is shown being accompanied by Colonel G.S. Crossman, Lieutenant-Colonel F.H. Hancock, Captain Sir Derrick Watson, and the Marquis Camden. Shown below right  is a photo dated July 19,1932 showing the Duchess passing by a group of men wearing medals. The location of this image (from the War & Peace website) was not given.

Next on her agenda was the laying of the foundation stone for the Kent & Sussex Hospital.


The Courier led off the account of the laying of the foundation stone with the following. “Alderman Snell then requested Her Royal Highness to lay the foundation stone. He said he made the request on behalf of all those people interested in the new building, and pointed out that the stone would form part of the western wing of the hospital, and part of the wall of the Children’s Ward, which Her Royal Highness had graciously given them permission to call The Princess Elizabeth Ward (Loud applause). “ It seems to us” said Alderman Snell,”that it is appropriate that the stone which will be laid by Your Highness would form part of the wall of that ward and will forever hereafter bear the name of your Royal and much loved daughter”. (Loud applause).”

Councillor Robert H. Burslem (of the well-known Burslem stone mason family) offered Her Royal Highness a number of articles which the Courier listed in a casket to be placed beneath the stone. As you will read later this “casket” was later found when the hospital was being demolished and some of its contents had survived all those years.

The site of the Kent & Sussex Hospital was on the west side of St John’s Road in the Culverden part of town just north of the intersection of Mount Ephraim with London Road. The site was that of a large mansion called Great Culverden which had been designed by Decimus Burton but was demolished in 1938 along with other buildings to make way for the new hospital. Details about this site and the mansion were described in my article ‘Great Culverden-A History of the Mansion and Its Developments’ dated January 13,2013 which also refers to the Kent & Sussex Hospitals construction.

From the Kent & Sussex Courier is the article opposite and a photo above showing the Dutchess  immediately after she had laid the foundation stone. On her right is the Marquis Camden while Cecil Burns, the architect who designed the new hospital, is on the left of the picture (n front). Immediately on her left, the Lord Bishop of Rochester.

The next series of images is a montage where upper left the Duchess is shown spreading the mortar; to the right she is declaring the stone “well and truly laid” . At the bottom  left she is receiving one of the purses and to the right is the Lord Bishop Rochester being presented to Her Royal Highness. Shown to the left is another image showing a smart looking group of nurses providing part of the guard of honour

Shown below is another series of photos of he event from the War and Peace website.

When the new hospital (photo opposite)opened its doors in 1934, it had unmistakable star quality. With its eye catching curves, bright shiny details and light-filled windows, it seemed to capture the spirit of an age when everything was brighter, faster and newer. The new building was a world away from the huddling old shops and matronly brick houses surrounding it, and seemed to offer a whole new vision of health care in the modern age. Shown opposite is a photo of the hospital not long after it was constructed. Today of course this once fine hospital has been demolished and replaced with an even grander one in Pembury.

Shown opposite is another photo of the Duchess at the foundation laying ceremony which appeared in a Kent & Sussex article of February 3,2012 entitled’ Time Capsule Unearthed at Site of Former Hospital’ . This article referred to a time capsule that had been buried under the Kent & Sussex Hospital 80 years ago that had been unearthed by workmen. It had long been believed that a “memory box” had been stowed away on the site. The small wooden box containing old copies of the Courier and other newspapers was carefully placed in concrete beneath the foundation stone laid by the Duchess of York in 1932. The box was split and some damp got in but the newspapers had survived pretty well, but the annual reports from the old hospitals which the Kent & Sussex Hospital replaced had disintegrated into dust. The foundation stone laid in 1932 was being carefully lifted in preparation for removal to the new Tunbridge Wells Hospital when workers noticed a metal plate underneath. When it was removed the small wooden box, the size of a modern box file, below. Along with many pictures of the Duchess, were reports from Britain’s overseas empire, stories of disorder in Germany and news of air raid precautions being planned at home. The old Kent & Sussex closed in September when the last of its services were relocated to the new Tunbridge Wells Hospital. The old foundation stone, along with plaques, statues and other artworks from the old hospitals, were put in storage pending reinstalment. On a visit to the new hospital on my behalf by Brian Dobson in February 2017 all or at least most of these objects have been put in place for the public to see once again.


After a busy morning the Duchess was wined and dined at Bayham Abbey by Guy Temple Montague Larnach-Nevill, the 4th Marquis and his wife. He had been born in 1883 and was the nephew of Henry Gilbert Ralph Nevill who was killed in the hunting field at age 84. Although Henry had married three times and was widowed twice he had no surviving male issue and so Guy became in charge. Guy was the son of Lord George Montague Nevill, the youngest brother of the 2nd and 3rd Marquesses, and the third son of the 1st Marquess. Guy passed away in 1954 at the age of 71 and was succeeded as 5th Marquess by his eldest son John Henry Guy Nevill who was born in 1914 and died February 23,2000.

Shown above left is a photo of Bayham Abbey taken in 1923 and to the right  it is a modern view.



In the photograph  left  can be seen the 4th Marquess of Abergavenny (1883-1954) (who was the Marquis Camden) seated on the right with the Duchess of York in the middle at the Tunbridge Wells and East Counties Agricultural Show in the showgrounds off Eridge Road.

      This annual event was always a popular one, the details of which were given in my article ‘A Photographic History of The Agricultural Show’ dated February 1.2014.The Marquis Camden was a patron of this annual event. The Duchess attended this event after a nice lunch at Bayham Abbey and concluded her public events of the day. Opposite left  is  another view of the Duchess at this event and above right is the Couriers account.



Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario,Canada

Date: May 6,2014


The location of the Calverley Promenade is shown on the 1907 OS map opposite highlighted in red. The site chosen for the development was located at the north west junction of Crescent Road and Calverley Park just to the west and opposite to the Calverley Park residential development, on a high plot of land commanding a good view of the park  to the south and east. In 1826 John Ward acquired the Calverley Estate consisting of 874 acres of what then was mainly farmland, to the north and east of the old town. In 1828 Decimus Burton junior (1800-1991), who had been trained at the Royal Academy Schools and worked initially as an understudy to John Nash on Regent Park, was hired by John Ward to produce plans for War’s vision of the area. This work resulted in the construction of Calverley Park, Calverley Place (now 57-70 Calverley Road), Calverley Promenade (by 1861 referred to as Calverley Park Crescent),Calverley Parade and Calverley Terrace (both of which were demolished in the 1930’s to make way for the new Town Hall and Library. Burton converted Calverley House into a hotel (now the Hotel du Vin) and became a well- known and respected designer/builder of many other buildings in the town.

As the homes being built in the Calverley area were at that time some distance from the market, shops, baths and library on the Pantiles. John Ward decided to incorporate into his development a building of grand proportions that provided a commercial component to his overall development scheme. To this end Decimus Burton designed a crescent shaped building of grand proportions near Calverley Park which in the final design became a building with 17 shops on the mail floor and residences above. Shoppers were protected from the elements by a lovely covered walk supported by a row of columns, modelled after that of the Pantiles.

From the book ‘The Residential Parks of Tunbridge Wells’ (Tunbridge Wells Civic Society monograph 4,published 2004) is given the following, “ In front of the shops, a colonnade facing the park, with light iron columns, opened at each end onto the roadway behind ,which was at a lower level. In front of the Crescent, a large pleasure ground was attached to the centre of the range of shops, where the respectable and fashionable company was allowed to promenade. The present carriageway between the colonnade and the pleasure garden was inserted at around the middle of the 19th century but, happily, a suggestion that the garden be split into 17 separate parcels has been resisted. John Britton’s account  of Tunbridge Wells of 1832 shows Calverley Promenade to be ‘proposed’ at that time but, since several of the shops were trading by 1834, they must have been built around 1833. Plans could be viewed at Messrs. Bramah’s premises in Calverley Road. Interestingly enough, Burton’s plan envisaged three more villas where Calverley Park Cresent now stands, and the decision instead to build shops and lodgings on the site, seems to have been taken after 1829. Perhaps in use terms, the original residential proposal was the right one for, by the 1840’s, most of the shops had been converted to residential use. Thus, by the time Bagshaw’s Directory was published in 1847, only Sarah Thomas’s Baths and Edwin Mark’s Library remained in commercial hands”. The book continues with some details about the early shops in the building, details of which I give in the last section of this article, along with examples of some early business advertisments from the book, and elsewhere.

The’ Medical Topography of Tunbridge Wells’ buy  Robert Hutchinson Powell, dated 1846 gives “ To the rear and north of Calverley park lies Calverley Promenade, S.S.E., offering a well sheltered walk in rainy weather”. A directory of 1862 simply states “ The Calverley Promenade is a range of buildings, 17 in number, erected at the NW extremity of Calverley Park on the plan of a crescent, having a spacious colonnade in front”.

COLBRANS 1840 GUIDE          

The following information about the Calverly development  is from Colbrans 1840 guide. “[Starting in 1829] the most important alterations were commenced that the Wells had yet seen. These were made on the Calverley Estate which is the property of John Ward, Esq. of Holwood, in the County of Kent. This gentleman having purchased the Calverley and other considerable property adjoining it, … determined upon erecting a number of edifices suitable to the reception of genteel families; and simultaneously with the larger buildings, a number of shops, &c. in their immediate neighbourhood, so that the residents upon this estate might enjoy the same advantages as those who lived nearer the Springs. In the autumn of 1828, this extensive undertaking was commenced from the designs of Decimus Burton, Esq. the eminent Architect of Spring Garden, London; the Messrs. Bramah, of Pimlico, having taken the ground necessary for the purpose, on a building lease. As these buildings progressed, it was evident that a new town was springing up - villas, a terrace, a parade, rows of shops, &c. soon began to develope themselves, and advanced steadily to completion.Calverley Park comprises 26 acres, adjoining to and overlooking 20 acres of meadow and pleasure grounds in front of the Hotel, and contains twenty-four villas, chiefly of the Italian and Grecian style of architecture. The elegant appearance of these buildings attracts attention and excites admiration; and the views from the Park are at once extensive, diversified, and beautiful; equal, if not superior, to any at the Wells.”

“At the north west side of the park, is Calverley Promenade, built in the form of a crescent. This row of buildings (seventeen in number) was originally intended for shops, but within the last two years several of them have been converted into dwelling-houses. At one end of the promenade there are Shampooing and Vapour Baths; in the centre, a Library, Reading Room, &c., opposite to which is a Fountain, and beyond that a temporary Orchestra has been erected, where, in the season, a band is stationed to amuse the company. Immediately adjacent to the promenade is the Calverley Hotel, which has been recently finished; the accommodations here are of the first-rate description, and the situation in which it is placed, commanding as it does an uninterrupted view over delightful scenery, renders it one of the most charming spots in the country.”

“On the opposite side of the road from the Hotel is Calverley Terrace, consisting of four double Villas with pleasure grounds in front and gardens behind, communicating with the stables, coach-houses, &c. Calverley Parade, immediately adjoining, is a range of twelve houses (which were the first built) on a similar scale to those of the terrace, but smaller; and at the back of these are the Calverley Mews, which afford extensive accommodation for horses and carriages, independent of those which are attached to the houses on the terrace and parade. A short distance from the latter, is an excellent Commercial and Family Hotel, called the Camden; next to which is a Market House, one of the most elegant buildings in Tunbridge Wells. … On a line with this is Calverley Place consisting of twelve houses and shops.”

From a document sent to me by the Tunbridge Wells Reference Library is the following; “ The Layout of the Crescent- It seems from the 1828 plan of the Calverley Estate development that the land upon which Calverley Park Crescent now stands was at first thought of a  site for three villas. However on the 1832 plan reproduced in Britton’s Descriptive Sketches of Tunbridge Wells and the Calverley Estate the site is shown as “proposed Calverley Promenade” and by 1834 there were people in occupation. An illustration on the cover shows a plan of the Crescent at the time with seventeen shops with lodgings over them and a colonnade in front entered from either end. At that stage there was no roadway between the colonnade promenade and the garden but a central flight of steps led down to an oval extension of the promenade in the middle of this pleasure-ground area. Axially aligned on the central flight of steps is shown the orchestra where, to use the words of ‘The Tunbridge Wells Visitor” of 1834 “ a Band of Musicians may be placed” during the season. Another illustration shows a fountain in the centre of the oval promenade in the pleasure-ground. Illustrations of the 1860’s show that the oval promenade and fountain were removed and the present roadway between the crescent and the lawn. ‘The Architecture of the Crescent- All of these views show the central building of the composition, No. 9 which is set forward from the rest of the Crescent, surmounted by a triangular pediment. The adjoining buildings, Nos 8 and 10 which also form part of the crescent feature, are set forward too as are the end pavilions, Nos. 1 and 17. These end pavilions have semi-circular projecting bays to their flank walls. The buildings are faced in locally quarried sandstone and are in a simple and dignified classical style. In front, the balcony is carried on elegant columns rising from a raised plinth. The raising of the colonnade in this way gave each householder the opportunity of having another shop on the lower floor facing what is now Crescent Road (formerly Hervey Road).”

These lower shops would, to quote “the Tunbridge Wells Visitor” of 1834 again, “be applicable for those trades which could not be admitted on the Colonnade”. The Royal Calverley Library and Shops- Some idea of the shops which could “be admitted on the Collonade” may be gained from the advertisments reproduced on the back cover of this booklet which were taken from “The Tunbridge Wells Visitor of 1834 and 1835 (shown opposite). The document continues with information about some of the shops in the advertisments, which I report on later.


The original plans for the site were for a curved structure of stables with enough room for 64 horses with four large houses occupying the land behind. But, following a change of plan a few years later, this proposal was dropped in favour of a row of seventeen elegant shops with convenient private residences above them. Decimus's concept was to create a shopping parade for the New Town to eclipse the now ageing Pantiles and he designed its long curvaceous colonnade to emulate it, even down to the pillars and 18th Century windows.

The Promenade was built between 1830 and 1835 from locally quarried milky-white sandstone with a roofed walkway being held up ever so delicately by thin white iron pillars. In the afternoon light the newly built structure would have been a wonderfully dazzling sight to behold. The walkway was also given a raised elevation so that it created a commanding view over the Park.

The well-to-do ladies of Calverley would waft from shop to shop in their finest gowns sheltered from the sun or rain underneath the elegant canopied roof. To give their shopping experience a more aristocratic feel, an orchestra playing on the Promenade's semi-circular bandstand would serenade them as they strolled. A fountain was also laid out on the green which would provide a peaceful soundtrack during the musical off-season. It really was the most fashionable place in town to shop and the height of good taste to be seen there.

So, what businesses were on the Promenade?The most striking of the originally designed features was the central library, complete with billiard room above, called the Royal Calverley Library and Reading Room. Here, for a small annual fee, you could borrow books and music, read the newspapers or even hire a piano and a globe if you so wished.

At No.1 was the Royal Baths, so called due to its royal patronage of the Duchess of Kent and her daughter Princess Victoria. Here you could partake in a number of tempting treatments including shampooing, aromatic baths, sulphur baths, borage baths, nitro-muriatic acid baths, douches and showers. You will notice if you cast your gaze skywards that this building has one more chimney than the other houses, this was to vent the pore-cleansing steam of the mineral and vapour baths, and according to rumour the Turkish bath is still down there in the basement.There was Miss Lucas's Fancy Goods shop at No.2, Estate Agents at No.6 and No.17, and an Ornamental Painter at No.5.Mr and Mrs Davis's Tailor shop at No.13 provided all one would need in millinery and dresswear of the time.Wise's Tunbridge Ware Manufactory had a retail outlet on the Promenade, specialising in Tunbridge Ware and print publishing.No.7 housed the Royal Victoria Bazaar, selling grooming merchandise such as shaving cakes, cologne, toothpicks and teeth. Yes, teeth!

This meagre handful of shops was all that managed to fill the seventeen spaces of the Promenade though because within just a couple of years the promenade as a shopping destination began to fall out of favour.It wasn't long before the buildings begun being taken over by lodge-keepers, the band stopped playing on sunny days and the fountain stopped flowing. After a few more years just the Baths, the Library and Mrs Cockson’s Catholic Bookstore remained and the rest of the crescent had been converted to residential space. By 1847 just the Royal Baths remained.It was said at the time that the reason for this decline was that it became a little too popular with "outsiders" so the well-heeled simply shopped on The Pantiles instead. What's not known though is who these outsiders were and from how far they came. It is more likely that these shops, like today, are just a little too far from the main shopping areas of town.Today the pediment of the library has gone, as has its signage, as have any shops, but it has lost none of its charm and beauty. Now this long curvaceous colonnade is completely residential and highly sought-after. It’s just a pity that the pretty side doesn’t get seen as much as it should.


The group of 1-17 was given a grade II listing by English Heritage November 24,1966. Their description is as follows; “This crescent was originally called Calverley Promenade. It was built in 1828-1835 and was designed as shops with lodging houses above, but they later became houses. No 1 was the bath-house, and in the centre house was a reading room with a billiard room over. Decimus Burton Architect. Built of local Tunbridge Wells stone. The ground floor of the garden front is stuccoed. 3 storeys and basement cornice and parapet. 2 sashes to each with most glazing bars intact. French windows on the 1st floor. On the 1st floor is a continuous stuccoed balcony supported on a slender iron colonnade based on a raised platform with an iron railing above the colonnade. The end houses (Nos 1 and 17) and the 3 centre houses (Nos 8,9 and 10) project slightly and have a cornice below the top floor. The end houses also have curved bays at the sides.Nos 1 to 17 (consec) form a group. “


The following information in quotes is from the Tonbridge History website. “George Wise (1703-79), a turner,  is known to have had a business in Tonbridge in 1746 at a time when the navigation of the Medway opened up greater markets for trade. With his son Thomas (1750-1807), also in the firm, he was advertising Tunbridge Ware as one of their products by 1784. George Wise also published prints. The workshop, known as Wise's Tunbridge Ware Manufactory, stood at the North end of the Big Bridge on the East side. It had convenient river frontage and room for storage, workshops, residence for the family and showrooms. The woodworking firm gradually developed a specialisation in Tunbridge Ware and print publishing. Thomas’ nephew George (1779-1869) took over in 1806, consolidating their reputation for workboxes, tea caddies, games etc, made in whitewood with prints of places like Tunbridge Wells and Brighton attached. Wise’s Tonbridge business flourished and in the 1830s a retail branch was opened in Tunbridge Wells in Calverley Promenade (now Calverley Park Crescent) and another followed in the Pantiles. Wise’s opened an additional workshop in the Wells, and in 1840 there were nine manufacturers there as opposed to just one in Tonbridge. Wise’s Tonbridge premises were demolished in 1886 to widen the approach to the Bridge. Pizza Express now occupies part of the site. It is believed that the premises of George Wise were located in No. 8 Calverley Promenade, next to the library.’

For more information about the manufacture and sale of Tunbridge Ware in Tunbridge Wells refer to my article entitled ‘Tunbridge Ware –A Profile of Manufacturers ‘ dated February 14.2012. This article gives more information about the Wise family and includes information about all the other known makers. From the directory of makers included in that article here is a listing for the Wise family  

(7)Wise Family  active 1746-18   
7a.......George Wise(1709-1779).........................................................................1746-1770;
7b......Thomas Wise(1750-1807).........................................................................1770-1806;
7c......George Wise (1780-1869).........................................................................1806-1867;
7d......George Wise jr(1816-1899).......................................................................1855-1881


The following information , and photo opposite, pertains to an advertisement regarding a 4 BR residence in the Calverley Promenade  from 2014. “This stunning house forms part of this impressive Grade II* Listed town centre crescent of stone built houses designed by the famous architect Decimus Burton dating from around the 1830's. The striking, curving colonnade or 'promenade' is an outstanding feature of the crescent, overlooking the delightful, private communal gardens. The house has been beautifully and imaginatively, comprehensively renovated and refurbished to an exceptional standard, creating superb accommodation over the four floors. Some features of particular note include the elegant, well -proportioned sitting room on the first floor with its attractive marble surround open fireplace with grate with cupboards and display shelves to either side, two pairs of French doors open to the large balcony with hardwood decking and views over Calverley Park. The kitchen is beautifully fitted and equipped with top range integrated appliances, Corian work surfaces and an excellent range of drawer units. This room opens to the dining room which has an attractive fireplace with decorative tiles and a window overlooking the colonnade with a window seat. The principal bedroom suite on the top floor is delightful with its views over the park and beyond, a well fitted dressing room and a superb bathroom. The double bedroom on the first floor has a feature marble surround fireplace with cupboards and drawers on either side. On the lower ground floor, at present the two bedrooms are divided by an open archway, one used as a family room, the other a study and on this floor there is a well fitted family bathroom and a laundry room. This could also provide a self-contained flat as there is an outside access.   Attractive individual features throughout the house include the polished wood floors, original internal window shutters and plantation shutters and an elegant curving staircase with polished wood hand rail.The large balcony enjoys wonderful outlooks over Calverley Park and beyond. At the front there is a private drive and parking for the residents of the crescent. To the rear, the original trades door, gives access to Crescent Road.

Listed here is a record of known occupants of the Calverley Promenade from cira 1825 up to and including 1899. The information is based on census records and a review of local directories. As the occupants of the building changed frequently this list should be considered as being incomplete and a year by year investigation was not possible . What is obvious from the record is that the use of the main floor of the building for shops got off to a slow start and the buildings use for commercial purposes soon fell out of favour and by the 1840’s most of the units had become private residences and then lodging houses, a use it was put to for most of its history. There was still one or two shops there in the 1860’s but none are known after that period.

When the building was completed one occupant was estate agent George Robinson, who is identified in the 1840 Pigots directory  at No. 6 Calverley Promenade and as the estate agent of Wards Calverley Estate. He is also given in the 1840 directory as “ Calverley Hotel, George Robinson (the Hotel Keeper).The 1841 census however lists Edward Churchill as the keeper of the Calverley Hotel. Robinson had been hired by Ward to not only find tenants for Calverley Promenade but for all the other buildings in Ward’s overall development of the area. George Robinson is found in the 1841 census, at No. 6 as age 50, born 1791 Kent, who was formerly with the army. Living with him was his wife Cornelia, born 1801 Kent and two others (either boarders or servants). Robinson used the main floor of the premises as his sales office with the rooms above as the residence for his family/guests/servants. George and his wife were still there at the time of the 1851 census.but by 1855 he was gone and the shop became occupied by Misses Burtenshaw who ran a seminary there before taking on a residential use by 1861. The 1851 census recorded George Robinson as age 63, born 1788 in Speldhurst with the army on half pay and an estate agent. His wife Cornelia was identified as being age 53, born 1798 in Speldhurst. Also present was one domestic servant. George had married Cornelia Vaux May 1,1824 in Tunbridge Wells. He was listed as a gentleman and she as a spinster. What happened to George and his wife has not been determined but there is a record for a Cornelia Robinson, born 1798, who died in the 1st qtr of 1889 at Lewisham, London.

Another occupant of the Calverley Promenade in the 1830’s was Mr and Mrs Sarah Seaman. Shown opposite is an advertisement , circa 1835, for the Royal Baths run by the Seaman’s.Mr Seaman is identified as the proprietor but by 1840 is was being run by his wife Sarah who advertised  “warm,shower and medical baths”. It is expected that her husband had passed away by 1840 and she became the sole proprietor of the business. She was still at that location operating the baths in the 1861 census, but by 1867 No. 1 Calverley Promenade became a lodging house. As noted in the advertisement Mr Seaman also had Royal Baths at No. 9 Suffolk Place, Pall-Mall East, London and the same advertisement identifies that he had been previously in India, perhaps in a military capacity. Given in the Parks book by the Civic Society is the following. “ At No 1 the Royal baths offered Turkish and Indian bathing (perhaps of interest to East India Company employees who had retired to Tunbridge Wells) along with shampooing, medicated vapour, aromatic, sulphur,barege,Nitro-Muriatic acid, tepid, douch and shower baths .Vapour baths seem generally to have been fed by fumes of gums, balsams and minerals, essences being absorbed through open pores into muscular and nervous fibres. Today only the extra chimney breast on the curved end bay serves as a reminder of the intriguing past of this particular house”. It would be interesting to investigate the basement of this unit to see what remains if any of the old baths. In the 1840’s the Royal Baths were run by Sarah Thomas but by 1851 the premises had become a lodging house run by her. The 1841 census at No recorded the presence of Sarah Thomas, age 50, born 1791. Living with her was her 25 year old son Arthur and two servants. She was operating a Bath House The 1851 census at No. 1 recorded Sarah Thomas, age 64, born 1787 in Canada, a lodging house proprietor of No 1. Living with her in 1851 was her niece Mary Hawthorne who worked for her aunt as an assistant. Also present were three visitors and one servant. She was still there in 1861 with her niece and six visitors. No. Calverly Promenade continued to be a lodging house after that time.

The pamphlet from the Reference Library, which was produced by the Civic Society gives the following information about ‘The Royal Baths’. “Perhaps the most intriquing activity at the Cresecnt in the reign of William IV was that which took place at No. 1, The Royal Victoria Turkish Baths. These were under the immediate patronage of their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria and were opened by Mr and Mrs Seaman as a branch of the Royal Baths in John Nash’s Suffolk Place, off the Haymarket in London. The Calverley Promenade Baths were described as “fitted up with every accommodation for invalids” and offered “shampooing, medicated vapour, aromatic, sulphur,barege, nitro-muriatic-acid, tepid,douche and shower baths”.Vapour baths seem generally to have been fed y fumes of gums, balsams, minerals and other salubrious drugs, essences being imbibed through open pores into muscular and nervous fibres, thence circulating with blood and lumphs, expelling obstrudctions and ill humours. Normal practice in aromatic baths seems to have been for patients to lie with their heads on aromatic pillows, while Barege appears to have been a mineral water  from the French spa of Bareges. A probable reminder today of the former function of No. 1 is the estra chimney breast on the curved bay, as compared with the corresponding pavilion at No, 17”.

At No. 2 Calverley Promenade was H.J. Pettit (advert opposite) who ran a repository for the sale of miscellaneous fancy articles in bronze and china ornaments brought in from London. He also had an assortment of Tunbridge Ware. Who’s Tunbridge Ware he sold is not known for there were a number of makers in both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge at this time. See the section later in this article for the reference to George Wise of Tonbridge having a branch shop in the Calverley Promenade. Could  H.J. Pettit been an agent for George Wise or did Wise occupy another unit in the building? It is also reported in the Anke article that No.2 had been the Fancy Goods Shop of Miss Luca. It is not known by the researcher who came first, Miss Luca or Mr Pettit but by 1841 this unit in the building had ceased to be used for commercial purposes and became the private residence of Ann Dutton and later others, before becoming a lodging house. The pamphlet by the Civic Society gave the following “ At No 2 Mr H.J. Pettit begged to return his sincere thanks for the liberal encouragement he received and to assure the Nobility, Gentry, Residents and Visitors at the Wells that he had constantly on sale a general assortment of Jewellery and fancy articles too numerous for the limits of an advertisement”.

At No. 3, the first occupant is not known but by 1841 it was the private residence of Mary Ellis, age 25, single, born 1816,She was a lady of independent means and three others (probably servants) were living with her. By 1851 it became a lodging house and at other times was a private residence.

At No. 4, the first occupant is not known but by 1841 was the private residence of Marriett Durs, a lady of independent means age 20, born 1821 in Kent. She is living there on her own. This unit remained as a private residence until becoming a boarding house in the 1860’s

By 1840 No. 5 was occupied by Thomas Jewell, an ornamental painter. He had been born 1799 at Barnstaple,Devon and died at age 57 in Ballarat Victoria, Australia. On August 5,1827 he married Sarah Turner (1800-1874) and with her had eight children. He had worked as a painter in 1829 and a painter and glazier in 1830.Shown opposite is a photo of his headstone at Ballarat.He is found at No. 4 in the 1840 Pigots directory but the 1841 census records him living at Mount Pleasant Terrace. The premises remained as a private residence until becoming a lodging house by 1861.

At No. 6 was George Robinson, John Ward’s estate agent, who I have referred to earlier. He was still there at the time of the 1851 census. A directory for 1855 recorded the Misses Burtenshaw operating a seminary there  but by 1861 had become a private residence and by 1867 a lodging house.

At No 7 , the Park book, states it was the premises of the Royal Victoria Bazaar which included among its merchandise was white Windsor shaving cakes, Ferarie’s German Eau de Cologne, orange tree toothpicks, button hooks, hair pins and patent teeth. Quite an odd selection of items indeed. The Civic Society pamphlet gave the following “ The Royal Victoria Bazaar advertisement gave “ Celebrated soaps, rose, floating, Ceylon, almond, old bron and white Windsor shaving cakes, etc. etc. The highly recommended and much approved Stiracias, Macassar and other oils. Bears’ grease, pomatum,vegetable marrow, cold cream, Persioan otto rose Bloom, Naples cream,curling fluid, mile of roses etc etc. Ferarie’s German Eau de Colgne, concentrated and millefleur lavender water, with all the fashionable and much esteemed Perfumes. Inexhaustable salts, clarified, and orange-tree tooth picks, hair pins, shaving boxes, tooth powder etc etfc. A very extensive assortment of hair,curling,comb,clothes,velvet,hat,nail,patent,teeth,gum,flesh,crumb,shaving,hearth,dusting,varnish,paste and other brushes.Back,crop,braid,toupee,tail,pocket,shell, and German combs. Children’s knives and forks,cutlery,pen,pocket,and pruning knives.Cork and phial,screws,scissors,razors,cumumber slices,tweezers,nut crackers,button hooks,dog collars, black and gilt ornaments,purse mounts,slides, and tassels, in gilt, plated,steel,ivory, mother of pearl,coquille, and enamelled.Silverr, gilt,ivory and steel thimbles,pleated nut crackers, patent corks, key rings,swivels and labels. Gilt and black ornaments, seals, wafr stamps,watch guards, British silver table, dessert, and tea spoons”.  What an assortment of merchandise!! By 1847 this unit had become a private residence and buy 1858 a  lodging house.

It is believed, but not confirmed, that No. 8 was initially the Tunbridge Ware shop of the Wise family, but in the period of 1841 to 1851 became a private residence. By 1855 it had become Dr Gillard’s Classical School but by 1861 became a private residence and later a lodging house.

No. 9 was initially the Royal Calverley Library and Reading Room  operated by Richard and Thomas Fry. Cliffords 1834 guide stated “ There are three excellent billiard rooms in the town; one at the Upper Assembly Rooms; and the other two at Elliott’s Libraries, Parade and R & T Fry’s Library, Calverley Promenade”. The “R” Fry referred to was likely Richard Fry, the brother of Thomas Fry. Thomas Fry is found in the 1841 census as a bookseller at Mount Ephraim Terracne, age 25, born 1816 Kent. Living with him was his wife Caruna, age 25, born 1816 Kent. Nothing more could be found out about this Fry family. The Civic Society pamphlet gave “ At the Royal Calverley Library at No. 9 was Mr Fry, bookseller to Their Royal Highnesses the Duchess of Kent and the Princess Victoria, who sold Classical and Foreign Works, School Books, Account Books, Bibles, Common Prayer Books and Fashionable Vocal and Instrumental Music as well as having Pianos, Globes and Music available on Hire”. Fry’s occupancy of No 9 was brief for  John Elliott is found there in the 1841 census. John Elliot was in 1841 ,age 49, born 1792 in Kent. Living with him was his wife Anne,a ge 40, born 1801 Kent ; seven of their children and one servant. The Reading Room was advertised as “spacious and well equipped with magazines, reviews, army and navy lists etc and the library contained “a good selection of the latest publications on history,biography,voyages,travels,poetry,novels and miscellaneous literature.”. The Park book states “ Beneath a central pediment at No. 9. the Royal Calverley Library sold bibles, books of common prayer, and fashionable vocal and instrumental music, as well as having globes, pianos and music available for hire. An annual subscription of 1 pound 11s-6d (1 -1/2 guineas) enabled perusal of newspapers, magaizines,reviews and army and navy lists in the Reading Room,together with works from the Library” .Throughout the period of 1844 to 1847 the premises were that of Edwin Mark’s Library. Colbrans 1844 directory gave the following; “ Royal Calverley Library, Calverley Promenade, Tunbridge Wells. Edwin Marks respectively begs to direct the attention of the Nobility and Gentry visiting Tunbridge Wells to his extensive assortment of Piano Fortes. Having an entirely new stock of instruments he can confidently assert that they are far superior to any in Tunbridge Wells, and visitors desirous for hiring piano fortes are invited to inspect these at the Calverly Library, as they cannot fail to make a selection to their entire satisfaction-firmness of touch, brilliancy of tone, and effective power, being the chief characteristics of these beautiful instruments. A large variety of new music always on sale. Plain and fancy stationary, perfumery, Berlin wools and Tunbridge Ware. Edwin Mark’s Circulating Library near the Calverley Hotel”. Mark’s was still there in 1847 but by 1851 No. 9 had become a private residence and by the 1860’s a lodging house.

No. 10 in 1841 was occupied by George Maberly , a coach builder, who obviously did not built coaches there, but used the premises as his residence. George was in 1841, age 40, born1841. Living with him was his wife Butriah,age 30, born 1811; their four children, and four servants. It remained a private residence until the 1860’s when it became a lodging house.

No. 11 was first a shop of some sorts but very early became a private residence and later a boarding house. Sarah Bowers who occupied No. 11 from at least 1851 to 1861 used it as her private residence and lodging house. The 1851 census records her as age 66, born 1785 in London, an annuitant. Living with her was her 67 year old sister; one visitor and two servants. Also given at the same address in 1851 was Edward Jacob, born 1796 at New Canterbury,Kent. Living with him was his wife and a nephew. The fact that two occupants are listed in the census suggests that No. 11 had been divided into two living units.

No, 12 would have begun as a shop but by 1851 was the residence of Thomas Sidney Hewitt, an attorney at law. He was born 1799 at Tavistock Devon. Living with him in 1851 was his wife “H”, age 36, born Westham,Essex and one servant. By 1861 No. 12 became a lodging house.

No. 13 began as a tailors shop of Mr Davis who “supplied gentlemen studying economy in dress with the first style of fashion for ready money, while Mrs Davis supplied every article in the millinery and dress business upon the same terms”. An 1834 listing for them shows that they were also dealers in hats. Shown earlier in this article is an early advertisement for D Davis. In that advertisment he offers thanks for the support of his customers and announced “that he had removed to more convenient premises in Calverley Promenade, which he proposes opening in a few days. Advertised by him is gentlemens fashions and at the bottom of the advetisment was one for Mrs Davis offering supplies of every article in the Millinery and Dress Business. This advertisement was dated April 18,1834.The London Gazette of December 27,1836 listed among insolvent debtors “ David Davis, formerly of Calverley Parade, Tunbridge Wells, Kent and late of Calverley Cottage,Tunbridge Wells, tailor and dealer in hats”. From 1841 to 1847 this location was the premises of Sarah Adams  who operated The Berlin Repository and who by 1861 converted the premises into a lodging house. Sarah Asdams was 62 years old in 1851, having been born 1789 at Barcombe,Sussex. She lived there on her own. This address remained afterwards as either a private residence or a lodging house.

No. 14 began as a shop, and by 1847 was Mrs Cockson’s Catholic Book Store, as noted in the directory for that year. Like the others it soon became a lodging house.

No. 15  was the residence of a cowman by the name of George Doust from 1847 to 1851. In the 1851 census he is given as age 68, born 1783 in Lamberhurst,Sussex. Living with him was his wife; two children and one servant. Also listed separately in the 1851 census at the same address was Margaret Phillipe, born 1824 Finsbury, London with two servants. In the 1861 to 1867 period No. 15 was a Berlin Wool Repositiry operated by three sisters, namely, Emma Lucas, born 1826 Dorking,Surrey, Elizabeth F. Lucas born 1829 Dorking and Isabella Lucas.When they vacated the premises it became a lodging house.

No 16 no doubt began as a shop but by the 1840’s became a private residence and by the 1860’s a lodging house.

No. 17 began in use as the office of Mr W. King, a surveyor, auctioneer, house and estate agent.The advertisement of his business ,shown opposite is dated May 9,1835. He was advertising villas in Calverley Park and homes in other parts of the town and “spacious shops situate on the new Promenade, replete with every convenience and well adapted for any line of business”. See also the previous information about estate agent George Robinson at No. 6. It is likely George Robinson replaced Mr W. King as estate agent for the Calverley Estate for it is doubtful there would be a need for two of them, especially in the same building. By the 1850’s at the latest No. 17 became a lodging house.

Below is a more complete listing of occupants of the Calverley Promenade up to 1899. The dates given are based on directory and census records available to the researcher.

#1…….Mr Seaman (Royal Baths) 1835; Sarah Seaman (warm, shower and medical baths)1840; Sarah Thomas’s Royal Baths 1841; Sarah Thomas 1851-1861(lodging house);Miss Mary Ashdown (lodging house) 1867-1874; Benjamin Cornwall (lodging house) 1899

#2…….Miss Luca (Fancy Goods Shop)H.J. Pettit (fancy articles,bronze/china, Tunbridge Ware) 1835;Ann Dutton(hospital woman) 1841; Rev George Neeton 1847; Mrs Mary Freedham (lodging house) 1851-1867; Miss Elizabeth Suten (lodging house) 1874;

#3……..Mary Ellis (Ind. means) 1841; Mrs Ann Langley (lodging house) 1851-1858; Ann Turnbrick (lodging house) 1861; Alfred Fleishmanm (surgeon private residence) 1867; Miss Bird (private residence)1874;

#4……..Harriett Durs (Ind.  means) 1841;James Thomson Harrison 1847;Mary Ann Jackman (Ind. Means) 1851; No record 1861; Miss Hannah Bartlett ( lodging house) 1867;

#5…….Thomas Jewell (ornamental painter) 1840 (moved 1841 to Mount Pleasant Terrace; Mary Hart (Ind. Means)1841; Vacant 1851;Mrs Sewell (private residence) 1857; Mrs A Baker 1858;Sarah Turbrick (lodging house) 1861; Rev. George Kenrick 1862;  No record 1874; Miss Dimsdale (pirvate residence) 1899;

#6……..George Robinson (estate agent to the Calverley Estate) 1840-1851;Misses Burtenshaw (seminaries )1855;Ann FrancesHussey (fund holder) 1861; Mrs Ann Hussey (lodging house) 1867;Misses Ruth & Sophia Roberts (lodging house)1899 ;

#7…….Royal Victoria Bazaar1835; Vacant 1841; Miss Elizabeth Randall 1847; two servants only 1851;George Cottingham 1857;Miss Charlotte Cottington (lodging house)1858- 1867; Edward Peckham Martin (lodging House) 1874;

#8…….George Wise (Tunbridge Ware) 1835; Mary Wandum (ind. Means) 1841; Sarah Fitzgerald (widow Ind means) 1851; Dr Gillard (classical schools) 1855; Jesse Balfour(Ind. Means) 1861; Mrs Jane Ramdall (lodging house) 1867; Wortham Hitch (lodging house) 1874; Charles Birch Adie (lodging house) 1899;

#9…….Royal Calverley Library( Richard and Thomas Fry) 1834;John Elliott (bookseller) 1841;  Edwin Mark’s Library (booksellers, printers, stationers)1841-1850; Henry Wood (fundholder) 1851; Thomas Apps (lodging house) 1861; Mrs Elizabeth and Thomas  Apps (lodging house1867); Mrs Thomas Apps (lodging house) 1874; Miss Sarah Field (lodging house) 1899

#10……George Maberly (coach builder)1841; Unoccupied 1851;Mr C.F. Ash (private residence) 1855; Miss Mary Lister (Ind means) 1858-1862; Mrs Mary Lister (lodging house) 1867; No listing 1874; Albert Wickens (lodging house) 1899

#11……..No record 1841;Miss Arthur Borchem 1847; Mrs Sarah Bowers (annuitant) 1851-1867; No listing 1874; Albert Cobb (lodging house) 1899

#12……..No record 1841; Thomas Sidney Hewitt (attorney at law) 1851; Mary Barrett (lodging house) 1861; Thomas Simmons (lodging house) 1867; Mrs Frances Norley (lodging house) 1867; Miss Cadle (private residence) 1874;Barnsley & Howard (lodging house) 1899

#13…….Mr& Mrs  Davis, tailor  and dealer in hats 1834 (declared insolvent 1836, moved to Calverley Cotttage1835); Miss Sarah Adams (Berlin repository) 1841-1851; Sarah Adams (lodging house) 1861-1867; George Constable (lodging house) 1874; Mrs Mary Ann Roberts (dressmaker) 1899

#14…….No record 1841; Miss Elizabeth Cockson(Mrs Cockson’s Catholic Book Store) 1847; Unoccupied 1851; Mrs Ann Gray (lodging house) 1861-1874; Mrs Ruth Carwithen (lodging house) 1899

#15……..No records 1841;George Doust (cowman) 1847-1851;Emma Lucas (Berlin wool repository) 1861;  Elizabeth,Emma and Isabella Lucus (Berlin wood repository)1867; Lewis Burgess (lodging house) 1874;Mrs A.M. Barnett (lodging house) 1899

#16……..No records 1841; Miss Ann Wilkinson 1847-1851; The Misses Wilkinson 1858;Sibella Wilkinson (fundholder) 1861-1862; Miss Mary Ann Mercels/Mercher (lodging house)1867-1874;Mrs A.M. Barnette (lodging house) 1899

#17……..Mr W. King (surveyor,auctioneer, house/estate agent) 1835; No record 1841; Miss Loyd 1847; Katherine Bird (lodging house) 1851; Mrs Townsert (lodging house) 1855; Edward Murray (private residence) 1861; Alfred Baker (lodging house) 1867; No listing 1874; Mrs Rebecca Twine (lodging house) 1899

1858       MELVILLE DIRECTORY LISTINGS (unknown address)

The following listings were given in the directory with no shop/house number.

(1)          Rev. John Bullen (2) Mrs Gillard (3) Richard Bailey (lodging house) (4) George Cottington (lodging house) (5) Mrs Goodwin (lodging house) (6) Thomas Hammond (lodging house) (7) Thomas Killick (lodging house) (8) Mrs Thomas (lodging house) (9) William Walter (lodging house) .He is also listed 1857.



Written By; Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay,Ontario,Canada

Date: May 9,2014


The Calverley Hotel, now the Hotel du Vin, has a long and interesting history. It  began as a large private home constructed on the brow of a hill with large grounds at the south east corner of Mount Pleasant Road and Crescent Road. Historical accounts state that the home had been constructed in 1762 for the Earl of Egmont ,but this date must pertain to the rebuilding of the home. The book’ Royal Tunbridge Wells’ by Roger Farthing provides on plate 36 a view of the area and on the plate is marked “Esq. Strong” and a view of Mount Pleasant House. This plate is from Kip’s engravings of 1719.The text associated with this image states “On the horizon Esq. Strong’s, the original Calverley Hotel building”. From the same book is plate 46,showing Lord Percival and his wife with the text below stating “ The original Calverley Hotel house was almost certainly built by William Strong (see plate 36) around 1700 and bought from his heirs by Lord Percival, seen here with his wife .He became M.P. for Harwich in 1727 and was active in promoting the Georgia settlement.In 1734, as his diary records on 26 March, he gave ‘Mount Pleasant at Tunbridge Wells’. A house in London and the George Inn, on Snow Hill in London, with a total rental value of 319 pounds a year, to his son to enable him to stand for Parliament”. Shown above is a view of the building dated 1797. Note the Calverley windmill in the background.

In 1776 the Earl of Egmont,”having grown tired of the situation”, sold the house  “at a considerable loss” to William Gratton, the proprietor of the Gloucester Tavern in the Pantiles ,which was named after Queen Anne’s son The Duke of Gloucester, and which is referred to in accounts dating back to at least 1706.

Shown opposite is John Bowra’s map of 1738 . It is interesting to note the large house beside the name “ Mount Pleasant”. Note the reference on the map near the house to Lord Percival and this comment from Farthing’s book “ For 10 weeks each year from 1769 to 1789, when he died, the Duke of Leeds rented Mount Pleasant House from William Gratton of the Gloucester Tavern who had married the widow of an owner subsequent to Lord Percival.The Duke is renowned for driving daily in his coach and six to a point on the turnpike he called Turnham (Turn’em!) Green”. For further information about William Gratton see my article entitled ‘The History of the Gloucester Tavern’ .

In 1779 Thomas Osborn (1713-1789)(shown opposite), the 4th Duke of Leeds ,purchased the home, who made improvements to it, and continued to live there until his death in 1789. During this time the residence was referred to as “Mount Pleasant House”, but during the latter part of the 18th century and up to circa 1830  it became referred to as “Calverley House”. There is also reference to the place sometimes being called “Lushington House”  prior to the redesign and  enlargement of the building and its subsequent conversion into a hotel. The reference to Lushington House is in connection to Mr Lushington (1747-1823),a wealthy gentleman of Eastbourne Sussex ,who likely was the owner of the place at some point in the buildings early history ,and who died in Tunbridge Wells in 1824. An article in the Autumn 2014 newsletter of the Civic Society refers to a database of the UCL from the compensation payments  made after 1833 to disposed owners within which “ We can read there of William Lushington, who put together the Mount Pleasant estate between 1819 and 1823. He had made his fortune in India, but on his return invested it, not entirely successfully, in the West Indies. On his death in 1823, his daughter Charlotte sold Mount Pleasant to John Ward and it became Calverley park and Grounds. After 1833 she and her sister Augusta, who lived in Mount Sion, were awarded some 7,000 pounds. The L:ushingtons are an example of how a family could include both slave owners and abolitionists. William’s nephew, Stephen, a lawyer, was a powerful advocate for abolition.And,in another link to Tunbridge Wells, as Chancellor to the diocese of Rochester, he attended the consecration of Holy Trinity in 1829”.

After the death of Thomas Osborn in 1789 the home was occupied for one season by the Duke of Chandos who died there in 1780. For many years afterwards it was the residence of the venerable Dr Moss, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, who died at age 92 sometime just before 1820.In 1795, for a period of six weeks, the Royal Highness the Princess Sophia lived there. In 1797 and afterwards other “Royals” lived there from time to time.

Sir John Peachey, 3rd Baronet of Petworth (1720-1765) and his wife Dame Elizabeth Peachey(1725-1804) lived there in the late 1700’s and Elizabeth Peachey “ enlarged the house and remained there until her death in 1804”.

By 1810 however, the home had become a Lodging House and therefore had many distinguished occupants, like Dr Moss.In the period after 1810 it was also the occasional residence of Sir John Fagg, Bart of Mystole House near Canterbury.

When Thomas Panuwell, Esq. died in 1823 his 1,000 acre Calverley estate was purchased two or three years later by John Ward.Ward also became the owner of Lushington House, which William Lushington had bought in 1819 and who’s park he had enlarged by the purchase of adjoining fields.

In the period before 1830 the home had been altered many times.The earliest descriptions of the building (1786)refer to it being constructed of brick but later accounts describe it being of sandstone (which it is today).

In the 1830’s  Calverley House was redesigned , altered , and refinished by Decimus Burton, in conjunction with John Ward’s residential development of Calverley Park. The old part of the building was incorporated into the new design and the rooms occupied by Royalty were retained.The Dutchess of Kent and Princess Victoria stayed there in 1827 and 1834 and Queen Victoria stayed at Calverley House in 1835.Roger Farthing, in his book ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells” published in 1990 shows an image of the building given as plate 89 (shown opposite). The text with this image states “ Lord Percival’s old Mount Pleasant House was bought by John Ward, the Calverley developer, in 1825 but remained unaltered while required by the Duchess of Kent. In 1837 however it was enlarged with two elegant wings and an additional storey (to make 50 bedchambers and 14 sitting-rooms) and in 1839 it was leased to Edward Churchill, landlord of the Kentish Royal”.

In 1839-1840 Calverley House became the Calverley Hotel and was run by George Robinson

By 1841 the hotel was being run by Edward Churchill under the name of the Calverley Park Hotel.Edward Churchill was also associated with the running of the Kentish Royal Hotel. Churchill was still at the Calverley Park Hotel in 1862. During the time of Edward Churchill the 1859 the Horticultural Fete was held in the grounds of the hotel.

Bracketts guide of 1866 refers to the hotel being able to accommodate  “no fewer than 13 families”, considerably less than the 35 rooms available in 2014 at the hotel.

In the 1870’s and 1880’s the hotel was run by William Pawley(1828-1908).

In 1891 the hotel  was owned by Calverley Hotel Ltd and by 1918 was referred to as the Calverley Hotel Co. Ltd.

In the period of 1922 to 1930 the Manageress of the hotel was Miss Gladwin.

In 1961 the building was given a Grade II listing by English Heritage. Shown opposite and above is an advertisement for the hotel in 1960 and a photo of the dining room from 1961 by local postcard publisher Photochrom.

This article provides a brief history of the Calverley Hotel covering the period of 1762 until 1930 with some reference to its current use as the Hotel du Vin. I begin my account with the following  section quoted directly from the source.

Shown above is an image of Mount Pleasant House dated 1797 from The Weald website. Note the windmill shown in the background and note how different the building looks to other images of the building given later in this article.


“Mount Pleasant which next attracts our notice, contained originally but one house. About thirty years since, an indifferent lodging house was enlarged, and the adjacent grounds extended and embellished, by Elizabeth, the widow of Sir John Peachey, Bart, the elder brother of the first Lord Selsea. She made it one of the most desirable residences, at Tunbridge Wells; and occupied it, in the exercise of an extensive benevolence and liberal hospitality, till her death. It has since become the property, and is the occasional residence of Sir John Fagg, Bart, of Mystole House, near Canterbury. Still the great Mount Pleasant House retains its exclusive claim to that appropriate designation. It is now only a lodging house , let as one, or divisible into two, as the circumstances of the tenants may require. Many persons of distinction have wished to become the purchasers of it; captivated by the beauty of the situation, and the capability of improvement in the adjacent grounds; but having descended to the present proprietor as heir at law, on the last possessor having informally bequeathed it to a roman catholic establishment, some doubts, as to the validity of the title have been raised, which have hitherto proved obstacles to the transfer of the property”.

“This place has heretofore been the occasional residence of many distinguished persons. It was formerly a seat of the Earl of Egmont. For twenty successive seasons it was the constant abode, for the precisely measured period of ten weeks, to Thomas, the fourth Duke of Leeds: which he continued till his death in 1789 [The subjoined early testimony to the character of this truly respectable nobleman, occurs in a letter from Lord Oxford to Dr. Swift, bearing the date of June 19, 1735. " The Duke of Leeds is returned from his travels a fine gentleman ; and has imported none of the fopperies and fooleries of the countries he has passed through."]

“This noble personage formed so conspicuous a feature in the costume of Tunbridge Wells, that it will be allowable to pause a little on his name and character. The ancient system of the place prevailed during his abode in it: and he was invariably seen on the parade at the usual hours of assembling there. He may be said to have precisely exemplified Mr. Burke's happy and elegant definition of a nobility, " the Corinthian capital of polished society" Dignified in his manners, polite in his demeanour, affable withall, and actively benevolent; he so apportioned his attentions, and so encouragingly displayed his goodwill to all, that he became the most popular character in the place; and his implied wish on any subject was equivalent to a law. Although he divested himself of the aristocratic air in his conversation and countenance, never did he so in his equipage and exterior. His star invariably decorated his person, even on his great coat; and his full equipage regularly conveyed him to the Wells, and for his airing. After the morning bustle of the day, his habits were retired. He had usually his small party at dinner; and at the appointed hour, or rather minute, the coach and six was at the door for the evening excursion towards a spot on the London road, which his Grace denominated Turnham Green, from an open space, which admitted of the turning of his cumbrous equipage.”

“On one single day in the year he would make his evening appearance in the Rooms: this was on the birth-day of the Prince of Wales. On this occasion it had been his custom to give a public tea-drinking and ball to the company; and, if the state of the weather permitted, the former part of the entertainment took place on the Parade; at that time denominated the Pantiles. The tables were spread, according to the numbers to be accommodated, down the walks; and it may be noticed, as a singular contrast to the unmannerly intrusion of the present times, that, although the novelty of such a scene might be supposed to yield attractions, and almost to justify some deviations from a rigid propriety, there never was any advance on the part of the lower classes to disturb the comfort of the meeting. But not only the days of chivalry, but even those of decency and good order are gone by”.

“After the death of the Duke of Leeds, for one season, the Duke of Chandos made this house his residence; and died there, honored and lamented by all who knew him. For many years it was, in the early part of the season, the residence of the venerable Dr. Moss, Bishop of Bath and Wells; who for more than half a century had been a regular frequenter of the Wells : and died not many years since, in the full enjoyment of his faculties, at the great age of ninety-two.”

“In the year 1795, her Royal Highness the Princess Sophia, having been recommended to drink the Tunbridge waters, resided for that purpose, about six weeks, in Great Mount Pleasant. On her arrival, she was in a most debilitated state of health: during her residence, she rapidly amended, and quitted the place completely restored. Two years after the same house was destined to receive royal guests, of a different description, and under different circumstances: - the Prince and Princess, with the hereditary Princess of Orange. The Duchess of York accompanied them; and the excursion was understood to have been chiefly undertaken on her Royal Highnesses account. This visit took place in the early stage of those revolutionary scenes, which have since proved so fatal and humiliating to crowned heads; but so frequent, as almost to cease exciting wonder. The near alliance of the parties to our own reigning family, and their steady adherence to the interests of this country, occasioned these royal exiles to participate largely in the compassion of Britons: and during their residence among them, the inhabitants of the Wells readily united with their fellow citizens in yielding them the tribute of their utmost benevolence.”


Shown opposite is a view of the Calverley Hotel from Peltons 1840 Guide. Note the location of the large building on the left of the hotel with a sign over the entrance “Hotel Mews” which at that time would have been used to house horses and carriages.

Mount Pleasant House was built in 1762 for the Earl of Egmont.The residence was described in 1776 as “a noble modern brick house, built in a genteel taste, upon the brow of a delightful hill which commands an extensive prospect of the place. This was lately the property of the right honorable the Earl of Egmont, but is now presently that of Mr William Gratton, master of the Gloucester Tavern”. From  Tunbridge Wells Past and Present by Strange (1946) “The Earl of Egmont built Mount Pleasant House. Afterwards it was much improved by the Duke of Leeds, who purchased it in 1779. Subsequently it was called Calverley House which now forms the older part of the Calverley Hotel”.

The Earl of Egmont was decended from the Flemish noble family of Philip van Egmont of The House of Egmont in the Netherlands. British Parliament records of 1789 refers to the Duke of Edgmont and to Lord Lovell, the Earl of Egmont and apart from his other activities he was obviously a wealthy man and a member of the British Parliament.

In 1776 the Earl of Egmont,”having grown tired of the situation”, sold the house  “at a considerable loss” to William Gratton, the proprietor of the Gloucester Tavern in the Pantiles ,which was named after Queen Anne’s son The Duke of Gloucester, and which is referred to in accounts dating back to at least 1706.An advertisement announced “The Gloucester Tavern,Tunbridge Wells, is open for the season.The bedding is well aired and properly attended. Your very obliging and humble servant William Gratton”. Another account states that the Gloucester Tavern was named after the Duke of Gloucester who was in Tunbridge Wells in 1698 and who played with other children on the Upper Walk of the Pantiles. John Byron, the writer, was in Tunbridge Wells August 1723 and said in his accounts “ We walked upon the Walks, a great deal of company here; we had supper at the Gloucester Tavern”.

An 1808 map by T.T. Barrow showed the location of an listed the lodging houses in the town. On that map is given, in the location of what would become the Calverley Hotel, a building labelled as “Great Mount Pleasant” .In addition to the map Barrow produced a covering page to the map on which is shown an image of a large house labelled as “Mount Pleasant House”.

The 1912 publication by Lewis Melville entitled Society in Tunbridge Wells in the 18th Century’ gave “ On Mount Pleasant stands a very noble house which is let out by the season by Mr Gratton, the master of the Glouchester Tavern. It is the best lodging house thereabouts, and was built by Lord Egmont, who, growing tired of the situation sold it at a considerable loss”.  Another source gives “ Several good taverns supplied wine, including by 1706 the Gloucester Tavern, named after Queen Anne’s son the Duke of Gloucester”.

Peltons 1829 Guide gives the following “ Adjacent to the Calverley Promenade is the Calverley Hotel, which has recently been finished (redone by Decimus Burton), the accommodation here being first-rate with the situation in which it is placed, commanding as it does an uninterrupted view over delightful scenes, renders it one of the most charming spots in the country”. Accounts indicate that although Calverley House was extensively redone by Burton in 1829 it did not become a hotel until 1840 when it was rebuilt. However a map of 1839 labels the building as a hotel.The Descriptive Sketches of Tunbridge Wells by Britton in 1832 gives Information on the hotels in the town at that time but no mention is made of the existence then of the Calverley Hotel.

There is reference in 1835 to the mother of Queen Victoria staying at Calverley House “which was formerly Mount Pleasant House”.

Peltons Guide of 1876 by John Radford Thompson states in part  “Prior to the erection of the hotel ,this site was occupied by Lushington House, a favourite summer residence of the late Dutchess of Kent and her daughter, then Princess Victoria, and now the Queen of England”.Peltons 1840 Guide gave in part “ The Calverley House was sometimes called Lushington House, which was altered many times before Burton (1800-1881) incorporated it into the Calverley Hotel”….It was built as a private residence in 1762-the owners delaying its conversion to a hotel because of Queen Victoria’s last visit in 1835”.

Bracketts Guide of 1866 gave in part “ Prior to its conversion into a hotel it was known as Lushiington House and for several seasons was a favourite residence of the Queen and Princess Victoria and the late Dutchess of Kent stayed there in the summer.

So where did the name “Luchington House” come from? The answer  (from The Annual Biography of 1824) is that it is named after William Lushington (1747-1823) who was from Eastbourn, Sussex but died in Tunbridge Wells September 11,1823. The source says “He was formerly a merchant in London and an agent for the Isle of Grenada. He was elected MP for the City of London in 1795 on the death of Mr Alderman Sawbridge, and in the same year was elected Alderman of Billingsgate Ward, on the death of Mr Alderman Sainsbury. He resigned his Alderman’s gown in 1799, and retired from the representation of the City of London, at the general meeting of 1802. He also filled the office of Vice-President of the Artillery Company,; Treasurer of the City of London Lying-in-Hospital in the City Road and Vice President of the Society of Patrons of the Charity Schools, of the Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb, and of the Universal Medical Institution in Old Gravel Lane. He was also a Director of the British Fire office. Mr Lushington was a man of great ability, and a eloquent speaker, both in parliament and in the city senate. He published ‘The Interests of Agriculture and Commerce inseperable’ 8 volumes in 1808.”

William Lushington had been born January 18,1747 at Markshall,Essex and was one of eight children born to Henry Lushington (died 1799) and Mary Asthem (died 1775). He had married Pauline French (died 1897) March 28,1769 and with her had two sons and two daughters. A review of his will, which was probated October 13,1824, shows he was from Tunbridge Wells and that he left his entire estate to his daughter Charlotte Lushington.  A burial register records him born 1747, died 1823 and buried September 19,1823, age 76 at Lewisham St Mary, Kent.

Another reference to William Lushingtron is in the book ‘Royal Tunbridge Wells’ by Roger Farthing, published 1990 in which the following is given “ On 30 December 1823 Thomas Panuwell Esquire died and in the next two or three years John Ward acquired Panuwell’s 1,000 acre Calverley estate: the future Calverley Hotel which William Lushington had bought in 1819 and whose park he had enlarged by the purchase of adjoining fields……….”…..” The Princess Victoria and her mother, the Dutchess of Kent, came an stayed in Calverley House in 1826,1827,1828 and 1834…” In reference to the arrival of the railway in the town on September 19,1845 Farthing states “ On June 23,1849 the Queen and Prince Albert tested the route on an apparently unpremeditated visit to the Queen Dowager at the Calverley Hotel”. Shown opposite is an early image of the Calverley Hotel from Farthings book with the following caption “ Lord Percival’s old Mount Pleasant House was bought by John Ward, the Calverley developer, in 1825 but remained unaltered while required by the Duchess of Kent. In 1837 however, it was enlarged with ‘two elegant wings’ and an additional storey (to make 50 bedchambers and 14 sitting-rooms) and in 1839 it was leased to Edward Churchill, landlord of the Kentish Royal”.

In 1779 Thomas Osborn (1713-1789), the 4th Duke of Leeds ,purchased the home, who made improvements to it, and continued to live there until his death in 1789. During this time the residence was referred to as “Mount Pleasant House”.Shown opposite is painting showing Thomas Osborn by artist Thomas Hudson. Thomas Osborn had been born November 6,1713 and died March 23,1789. He was styled the Earl of Danby from birth until 1729 and subsequently Marquess of Carmarthen until 1731 and was a British peer,politician and judge. He was the older and only surviving son of Peregrine Osborne, 3rd Duke of Leeds and his first wife Elizabeth, youngest daughter of Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer. Osborne was educated at Westminster School and then Christ Church College, Oxford, where he matriculated in 1731.In the same year, he succeeded his father as duke. Osborne received a Doctorate of Civil Law in 1738 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society a year later.

Osborne became a Lord of the Bedchamber in 1748 and was appointed Justice in Eyre south of Trent in November of the same year.In June 1749, he was made a Knight of the Order of the Garter and in 1756, resigning from his post as justice, was nominated Cofferer of the Household.He was sworn of the Privy Council of Great Britain a year later and became Justice in Eyre north of Trent in 1761, an office he held until 1774.Osborne was a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Riding of the County of Yorkshire.In 1766 he inherited the office of Governor of Scilly and the lease of these islands from his father-in-law.

On  June  26,1740, he married Lady Mary Godolphin, second daughter of Francis Godolphin, 2nd Earl of Godolphin and his wife Henrietta Godolphin (née Churchill), 2nd Duchess of Marlborough, and had by her three sons and a daughter.Osborne died, aged 73 at St James's Square and was buried at Harthill, South Yorkshire.He was succeeded in his titles by his third and only surviving son Francis(1751-1799).

The Tunbridge Wells Guide by Jasper Strange 1817 gives the following “ Mount Pleasant gives site to a noble modern brick house, built in a genteel taste, upon the brow of this delightful hill, which commands an extensive prospect of the place. The situation of this house in extremely happy, the grounds and gardens belonging to it are well disposed, and justly deserve the name it has acquired. His Grace the Duke of Leeds, honoured it with is presence for several seasons, and during that time, frequented the Walks, and mixed with the company with such affability and condescension as not only to engage the respect due to his high rank, but that universal esteem which greatness alone cannot command.”. This account goes on to refer to a compliment made to him by “the late very ingenious Mr George Lewis, Vicar of Westerham that was addressed to His Grace on his annual ball on the Prince of Wales birthday in 1770. The Duke of Leeds is in some accounts referred to as a “summer visitor” and so it appears the home was vacant the rest of the year of perhaps leased out by him when he was away. The Descriptive Sketches of Tunbridge Wells and Calverley buy John Britton in 1832 refers to the Duke of Leeds as a “distinguished character who lived in Tunbridge Wells”. The Tunbridge Wells Guide by Jasper Strange in 1786 gave the same account as that of 1817.

After the death of Thomas Osborn in 1789 the home was occupied for one season by the Duke of Chandos who died there in 1780. For many years afterwards it was the residence of the venerable Dr Moss, the Bishop of Bath and Wells, who died at age 92 sometime just before 1820.In 1795, for a period of six weeks, the Royal Highness the Princess Sophia lived there. In 1797 and afterwards other “Royals” lived there from time to time.

Sir John Peachey, 3rd Baronet of Petworth (1720-1765) and his wife Dame Elizabeth Peachey(1725-1804) lived there in the late 1700’s and Elizabeth Peachey “ enlarged the house and remained there until her death in 1804”.Sir John Peachey was the elder brother of the 1st Lord Selsea. The publication ‘The House of Commons 1754-1790’ gave the following information about Sir John Peachey. “ Sir John Peachey, 3rd Baron (1720-1765) , of West Dean, Sussex. Midhurst April 23,1744-1761. Born 1720, the 1st son of Sir John Peachey, and Bt., M.P., of West Dean, and brother of James Peachey. Educated; Westminster June 1729; Oxford November 17,1737, aged 17. Married August 18,1752 Elizabeth, daughter and heir of John Meeres Fagg of Glynley, Sussex, succeeded father as 3rd Baron April 12,1744.The Peachey family had considerable interest at Midhurst in the 1st half of the 18th century. Sir John Peachey was a follower of the Price of Wales and also went over to the Pelhams in 1751, and subsequently became an adherent of Newcastle. In 1760 he sold his property at Midhurst, and at the general election of 1761 withdrew from politics. He died June 30,1765 and was succeeded by his brother James Peachey in July 3,1765.”  In researching his wife Elizabeth I found “After the death of Lady Elizabeth Peachey her mansion called ‘Glenleigh’ in Westham,Sussex became the property of R. Hawes, esq., and then to the Fagge family”. I also determined that Dame Elizabeth Peachey,born 1725 died at the age of 79  in 1804 and upon her death Calverley House changed occupants once again.

From my overview at the beginning of this article I wrote “By 1810 however, the home had become a Lodging House and therefore had many distinguished occupants, like Dr Moss.In the period after 1810 it was also the occasional residence of Sir John Fagg, Bart of Mystole House near Canterbury.

In the period before 1830 the home had been altered many times.The earliest descriptions of the building (1786)refer to it being constructed of brick but later accounts describe it being of sandstone (which it is today).

In the 1830’s  Calverley House was redesigned , altered , and refinished by Decimus Burton, in conjunction with John Ward’s residential development of Calverley Park. The old part of the building was incorporated into the new design and the rooms occupied by Royalty were retained.The Dutchess of Kent and Princess Victoria stayed there in 1827 and 1834 and Queen Victoria stayed at Calverley House in 1835.

Brachetts 1866 Guide states in part.The hotel has been altered and enlarged, the rooms occupied by Royalty being retained. So extensive are the premises that they can accommodate no fewer than 13 families.The grounds ,which cover several acres, are tastefully laid out in walks,among which are two pleasant terraces.

The 1840 Pigots directory gave the following listing “ Calverley Hotel, George Robinson (The Hotel Keeper). Under the heading of Estate Agents was the 1840 Pigots listing “ George Robinson, 6 Calverley Promenade (Wards Calverley Estate Agent).The same directory gave Edward Churchill, who would later take over the hotel, as being at the Kentish Royal Hotel. George Robinson is found in the 1841 census at 6 Calverley Promenade and working as an estate agent for the Calverley Estate. George was born 1791 in Kent and in the 1841 census his wife Cornelia, age 40, and his daughter Eliza,age 15 were living with him.George and his family were still at 6 Calverley Promenade at the time of the 1851 census but was gone by 1855. What became of him is not known by the researcher. For more information about the Calverley Promenade see my article entitled ‘Calverley Promenade In The 19th Century’ dated May 6,2014.

The 1841 census, taken at the Calverley Park Hotel listed Edward Churchill, age 40, born 1801 at the hotel keeper. Living with him was his wife Elizabeth, age 35, born 1806. In addition there were over 60 guests and servants at the hotel. Edward Churchill took over the running of the Royal Kentish Hotel in 1831. Edward Strange had run that hotel until his death in 1823 and then his wife continued for another eight years until 1831 at which time Edward Churchill took over. As can be seen by reviewing directory listings Edward Churchill is found throughout the period of 1841 to 1851 as the proprietor of both the Calverley Hotel  and the Kentish Hotel yet he is found in the census records for the same period always as the proprietor of the Calverley Hotel. One can only conclude that he ran both hotels during that period.

Mr Churchill was a well- known figure in the town. Edward Churchill spent his life working in the hotel industry.Shown in my article about the Kentish Hotel is an advertisment for the hotel during the time of Churchill,dated 1846. The advertisment reads "Churchill Royal Kentish Hotel (fronting the Common),Tunbridge Wells.It is  within a minute’s walk of the celebrated springs.The comforts of this house are well known and appreciated.Omnibus from this hotel meet every train”.It would appear that Mr Churchill was running two hotels up to 1852 for directories of 1847, 1851 1858 and 1862 all list him as the proprietor of the Calverley Hotel. It is known that William Haines replaced him at the Kentish Hotel by 1852.

Edward Churchill was born September 12,1796 in London to William and Frances Churchill and later moved to Banbury,Oxfordshire.In the 1820's he moved to Tunbridge Wells and went into business.He is found in the local directories as the proprietor of the Market House from 1832 to 1834,and establishment previously run by Edward Hilder Strange as early as 1814 and up to his death in 1823.Edward Churchill was also the proprietor of the Corn Market House on London Road in the period of 1839-1840 and from 1841 to 1869 the proprietor of the Calverley Hotel.

Edward's marriage on April 26,1832 to Elizabeth Beane,the eldest daughter of Joshua and Catherine Bean of Banbury,at St Mary's church,records that Edward is an innkeeper of the Royal Kentish Hotel. A directory for 1840 under the heading of 'Undertakers' lists Edward Churchill of the Royal Kentish Hotel.In the same directory under Tavern and Public Houses is "Edward Churchill,London Road (Corn Market House).

Edward Churchill was a busy and enterprising man for in the 1851 census he is found residing at the Calverley Hotel as its proprietor along with his wife,twenty hotel guests and a large number of servants.

In the 1861 census Edward Churchill is found living at the Fernclyffe mansion(photo opposite) on Pembury Road,with his wife;his sister-in-law;a visitor and three servants.Edward's occupation is given as "merchant and hotel keeper".The hotel referred to is the  Calverley. The 1862 Kelly directory gave the listing “ Edward Churchill, Calverley Hotel & corn dealer, London Road and Calverley Park”.

Edward and Elizabeth had at least one son namely Reverend Edward Beane Churchill who died November 28,1901 at the age of 58 at Manor house,Ashmansworth,Hants.Edward's wife died in Tunbridge Wells sometime between 1862 and 1869.On April 21,1869 Edward Churchill passed away at Fernclyffe leaving an estate of under 25,000 pounds to his son Reverend E.B. Churchill of Portsea,Southampton.

Peltons 1876 guide states in part “ The Calverley Hotel is built of sandstone, after the design of Mr Decimus Burton, and occupies a commanding position near the entrance to Calverley Park. The Calverley is exclusively a family hotel of the highest order, and provides accommodation for many families. The grounds which cover several acres, are tastefully laid out, and the terraces command extensive views southward.” This guide has a sketch of the hotel on page 44. Burton added one of the most attractive features of the hotels exterior, namely the verandah on the south side overlooking Calverley Park. This verandah can be seen in some of the images of the hotel I have provided.

The 1874 Post Office directory listed William Pawley as the keeper of the Calverley Hotel. He was still in charge at the time of the 1881 census. In the 1881 census he is given as age 49, born in Bromley,Kent. Living with him was his wife Annie, age 25, born in Cornwell, USA and their five year old daughter Ethel.Also staying at the hotel were 17 guests, and 12 members of staff.William Pawley was still in charge of the hotel at the time of the 1882 census.

In 1891 the hotel  was owned by Calverley Hotel Ltd and by 1918 was referred to as the Calverley Hotel Co. Ltd. In the period of 1922 to 1930 the Manageress of the hotel was Miss Gladwin.

The publication ‘Pictorial History of Tunbridge Wells and District’ dated 1892 gave the following. “ the Calverley Hotel- Monson road-The Calverley Hotel Company- Tunbridge Wells being so fashionable and celebrated as a health resort, the hotel system is naturally of considerable mannitude and in a most flourishing condition. One of the first to be named id the Calverley Hotel, which, under the capable management enjoys the highest,most conveniently placed for access to the town, are in a charmingly-retired situation. They consist of a spacious block of two-storied buildings of considerable architectural pretensions, at the rear of which are well laid out and very extensive grounds, whose picturesque beauty is quite in harmony with its general surroundings. The interior arrangements of the place, are replete with every modern comfort, and in accordance with the many requirements for the complete equipment of a thoroughly first-class hotel. The general accommodation includes bed-rooms, sitting,coffee,dining and smoking-rooms, which are elegantly furnished and replete with every requisite for the convenience of patrons. The management has exceptionally complete facilities for obtaining daily supplies of the finest meat,poultry,game,vegetables,fruit and dairy produce, the cuisine is of the highest quality, and every attention is paid to the cellars, the wines being of the cloicest vintages.The hotel is the most comfortable and private in the town”.


Shown opposite is a 1907 OS map of the area indicating the location of the Calverley Park Hotel and Calverley Park .As can be seen from the map most of the original extensive grounds of the hotel had been absorbed into Calverley Park.The original grounds of the residence were in the order of 22 acres but by 1907 consisted of no more than about five acres in a narrow strip extending from the eastern edge of the hotel westward to the corner of Mount Pleasant Road.

A booklet entitled ‘Tunbridge Wells 1951’ shows the Calverley Park development and “Calverley House” , both shown and labelled on the map. The booklet also gave the following “ The oldest building,Calverley House, was, it is true, erected in 1762 by the Earl of Egmont under the name of “Mount Pleasant House”, and enlarged later by the Duke of Leeds. Matthew Calverley himself altered the name to Calverley House, and in 1840 it was further enlarged and opened as a hotel. The house was the residence of the Duchess of Kent and her daughter (later Queen Victoria) in 1827 and 1834”…Matthew Calverley himself appears to have had far less to do with the fantastic development of his land than John Ward, who owned it after him, and Decimus Burton, the famous architect.But it is Calverley’s name that appears on all the signposts.Mathew Calverley was an obscure gentleman, for whom little is known, but he owned this large amount of undeveloped property at the beginning of the 19th century”.

Calverley Park and Grounds and adjoining property which together formed the Calverley estate was acquired in 1820 by John Ward. Development of the villas and their associated landscape setting, to designs by Decimus Burton, began in the autumn of 1828 (Colbran 1840) and was complete by 1839. The Ward Estate remained the freeholder, the villas being occupied leasehold until they were progressively sold off from 1947 and the parkland became the property of the trustees of the Calverley Park Association. In November 1920, the western half of the site, known as Calverley Grounds, was acquired by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council for a public park. The site remains (1999) in the hands of the individual villa owners who form the Calverley Park Association, the local authority, and a number of further individual and commercial private owners.
Shown above is a postcard view of the Calverley Grounds.


On July 1,1859 the Tunbridge Wells Horticultural Fete was held,a complete account of which I have given here.Although no mention is given in the account about the TWHS organizing the event I believe it is safe to assume that they were the organizers. The account is as follows " A grand horticultural fete was held at Tunbridge Wells, in the grounds adjoining the Calverley Hotel,on Friday July 1,1859 which was honoured by the presence of the Countess de Neuilly,the Duke de Nemours,the Count d'Eu, and suite.They were conducted from the Calverley Hotel,at which they have been staying for some days,by the Hon F.G.Molyneux and other members of the committee and,on their arrival at the entrance to the grounds,the Countess,and each of the ladies of her suite,was presented with an elegant bouguet by Mrs. George Goldney,the wife of the Rev. G. Goldney,one of the members of the committee.We will follow the noble party in their tour through the tents."

"The first entered was that devoted to the productions of cottager's gardens,where the fruits and vegetables exhibited by W. Brown, of Southborough,attracted much notice.The next tend was filled with cut flowers.Here the collection of roses shown by Mr Hollamby,of the Strawberry Hill Nursery,near Tunbridge Wells,was most splendid; nor should we omit to notice that of Mr Mitchell,of Tower Nursery,near Heathfield,or a box of cut verbenas exhibited by Mr Foreman,gardener to the Rev. G. Goldney,which was deservedly commended.Among the fruit (which,howrever,was decidedly poor considering the liberal prizes offered) were some very fine grapes,grown by Mr Powell,gardener to Dr S. Newington,and a fair collection of six dishes of fruit from Eridge Castle,exhibited by Mr Ogle,gardener to the Earl of Abergavenny.The collection of stove and greenhouse plants in this tend contained some very fine ericas,shown by Mr Gilbert,gardener to E.L.Mackmurdo,Esq.,of Hastings,and some gloxineas from the gardener of H. Reed,Esq.,of extraordinary growth,also a fine collection of British and exotic ferns,grown by Mr Maxted,gardener to J, Field,Esq. Beyond this were some splendid plants,exhibited by Mr Gilbert,which obtained first prize,among which were conspicuous Aphelexis sesamoides Basrnsii,Rhyncospermum jasminoides,and Alamanda cathartica.Mr Ping,gardener to Henry Reed,Esq.(of Dunorlan),had many fine plants;two noble vincas,the rare and beautiful plant Cyanophyllum magnificum,Cissus discolor in general beauty,an immense plant of Coleus Blumei,Caladium bicolor,and C. distillatoria with leaves of enormous size,and a very fine Araucaria escelsea.Messrs. Rycroft and Wells,gardeners to Alderman Salomons (of Broomhill),M.P. ,had a Medinella magnifica which eminently deserved its name; five or six achimenes highly commended by the judges,and many other well-grown plants;and Mr Drummond,gardener to J, Scott Smith,Esc.,Phoenicoma prolifera Barns-,a very well-flowered Statice Holfordii,and Roella Ciliatra.The pelargoniums,though past their best,were very beautiful,Mr Gilbert obtaining the first prize for six shows,and Mr Pring for six fancy varieties.The band of the royal Artillery,consisting of fifty performers,under the able superintendence of Mr Smith,was in attendance,and played some beautiful pieces.There could not have been less than five thousand visitors in the grounds during the day."

The above article was published in the Illustrated Garden News on July 9,1859 and remarkably included with the article was a wood engraving,which I have shown here,of the event. The original engraving measuring 5.75" by 9.5" was made by an unknown artist from a sketch made at the time of the event only 8 days before the image appeared in the publication.Although originally published in black and white the image was later hand coloured.

The Rev G. Goldney referred to at the Fete was Rev George Goldney,M.A. a clergyman born 1816 at Buckingham,Buckinghamshire whos wife was Ann Goldney,born 1826 at Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire.

The F.G Molyneux referred to at the Fete was the Honorable Francis George Molyneux,born March 5,1805 at St George Hanover,London who died in Tunbridge Wells May 24,1886. His wife,whom he married in 1842 was Georgiana Jemima Ashburham,born May 11,1805 at St George Hanover,London who died in Tunbridge Wells on May 1882. Francis Molyneux was a well- known figure in the town. He was a leading citizen and town benefactor who had arrived with his wife in Tunbridge Wells in 1853.He first lived at Gibraltar Cottage but subsequently built a mansion at 76 Mount Ephraim called Earl's Court which later was converted into a hotel, then offices and now is luxury apartments.He was a British diplomat who was appointed secretary to His Majesty's Legation at Frankfort Germany October 28,1835..He was a a J.P. and magistrate for Kent and a leading member of the Freeholders,as well as the Local Board,the towns first local government.In 1871 he inagurated the granite fountain that now stands in the Woodbury Park Cemetary that was originally installed in town until proposed roadwork necessitated its relocation.Francis,at the ceremony even quenched his thirst by taking a sip of water from the fountains iron cup.


English Heritage gave the Calverley Hotel a Grade II listing on November 24,1966. Given below is a description of the listing.

“CRESCENT ROAD 1. 1746 (South Side) The Calverley Hotel TQ 5839 SE 7/79 24.11.66. II 2. This was built as Calverley House in 1820 and enlarged by Decimus Burton in 1840 when it became a hotel. Built of Tunbridge Wells stone. 3 storeys. Parapet and cornice. Sashes with most glazing bars intact. 9 windows windows. The end window bays and the centre one projects with small pediments over. Hoods to some 1st floor windows. French windows on the ground floor which has now lost its hooded verandah. Large stuccoed Tuscan porch on the street front. The Duchess of Kent and Princess Victoria stayed here when the house was Calverley House in 1827 and 1834.”

THE HOTEL du VIN         

Today the former Calverly Hotel is the Hotel du Vin which has 36 rooms, a billiard room, a boules court,although in 2000 it was reported to have 32 rooms. It also has a fine restaurant and although some guests say the rooms are small they all give good reports about their stay at the hotel. The rooms in the hotel are all named after various drinks. Shown above is a recent photograph of the hotel.


Written By: Edward James Gilbert-Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

Date: March 17,2017


In 1840 there were fifteen taverns and public houses listed in the Pigots directory for Tunbridge Wells but only one, namely the Bristol Arms run by Richard Prebble, was in operation on Calverley Road. The Fountain Tavern, or “Fountain” as it was known by initially, began operations on Calverley Road later in the 1840’s  with its first known manager being Thomas Turley who is found there as a beer retailer in a 1847 directory, with premises at 18 Calverley Road.

No. 18 Calverley Road was located on the south/east side of the road in the large Waymark block of shops, about half way between Grosvenor Road and Monson Road. Shown above is a postcard view of Calverley Road looking east from 5 Ways. The large building on the right is Waymarks and along the south/east frontage of this building was a row of shops, in which the ‘Fountain’ was located.

Thomas Turley was found in the 1851 census at “Calverley Road, East Side, Fountain Bar House”. Thomas was a widower at that time with the occupation of “beer retailer”. He had been born 1807 at Cowden, Kent and was baptised April 12,1807 at Cowden, and was one of six children born to Thomas Turley (1779-1858) and Philadelphia Turley, born in 1781.

Thomas had been married twice. His first wife, who he married in 1839 was Jane who died, apparently during the birth of their third child Hester in 1845. Thomas and Jane are known to have had the following childen (1) Stephen (1840-1893) (2) Jane, born 1843 (3) Hester, born 1845. All of the children were born in Tonbridge.

The 1861 census, taken at Hadlow, Kent, gave Thomas Turley as a labourer. Living with him was his second wife Sophia, born 1819 in in Speldhurst. Living with them was Thomas’s daughter Hester and one lodger.

The 1871 census, taken at ‘Black Charles Farm’ in Seal, Kent, gave Thomas as a farmer of 138 acres employing 9 men and 1 boy. Thomas was once again listed as a widower. With him was his son Stephen and daughter Hester.

The1881 census, taken at the ‘Black Charles Farm’ in Seal, Kent as a widower and farmer of 138 acres employing 5 men and 1 boy. With him was his son Stephen and one servant.

Thomas Turley appeared in the probate records as late of Tonbridge, Kent, who died at Tonbridge October 11,1887. The executors of his 353 pound estate were Humphrey Wightwork and William Jeffery Wightwork, both of Tonbridge. Tallow Chandlers.

From the above it appears that Thomas Turley left the ‘Fountain’ pub in the early 1850’s and moved to Hadlow.

In 1851 there were three beer retailers operating on Calverley Road, in addition to the ‘Fountain’. These were James Mansfield, John Latter Masters and William Diggins and so there was no shortage of places where beer could be obtained on Calverley Road.

The next known operator of the ‘Fountain’ at 18 Calverley Road was listed in the 1858 Melville directory as “William Wenhan, Fountain beer shop, Calverley Road” who no doubt took over from Thomas Turley. William was not found in the Tunbridge Wells census of 1861 and therefore had left the business by that time. A search for him in other records did not provide any definitive information.

Although the ‘Fountain’ continued in operation throughout the 19th century, it was surprising to find no listing for it in Kelly’s pub directories of Kent from 1862 to 1899.

The next confirmed operator of the ‘Fountain’ was Edward Walker who appeared in the 1881 census and 1882 Kelly directory under the listing “ The Fountain” 18 Calverley Road”. Edward Walker was born 1826 in Alfriston, Sussex and was baptised there on February 5,1826. One of eight children born to Edward Walker (1803-1871) and Mary Ann Walker, nee Stace (1808-1874).

The 1841 census, taken at Alfriston village, near Eastbourne, Sussex, gave Thomas Walker as born in Sussex and working as an agricultural labourer. With him was his wife Mary Ann (given as Ann) and their six children, including Edward Walker, age 15.

The 1851 census, taken at Alfriston gave the head of the family as “Ann Walker”, age 56, a pauper. With her was her son John, a pauper; Edward, a pauper; and Susan, a pauper. What had become of Mary Ann’s husband was not determined but it appears he had abandoned the family.

The 1861 census, taken at the District County Hospital, in Brighton, Sussex gave Edward Walker as a patient there, born 1826 Alfriston. Sometime after his recovery he made his way to Tunbridge Wells where in the 1871 census he is found at “Fountain, 18 Calverley Road” as a victualler. With him was his wife Esther, born 1828 in Ireland and seven lodgers.

The 1881 census, taken at “The Fountain, 18 Calverley Road” gave Edward Walker as a “beer house keeper”. With him was just his wife Esther given as born in Coroscommon, Ireland 1831.  From the census records it is obvious that Edward and his wife never had children.

Sometime in the 1880’s Edward retired from business at The Fountain. The 1891 census, taken at 4 Model Cottage on Golding Street, Tunbridge Wells, gave Edward Walker as an “army pensioner and retired beer retailer”. With him was just his wife Esther, given as born 1828 in Boyle, Ireland.

Death records show that Esther Walker born 1823 Ireland died in the 3rd qtr of 1894 in Tunbridge Wells. Death records for Edward Walker gave him born 1826 and that he died in Tunbridge Wells in the 2nd qtr of 1901. Probate records for Edward Walker gave him of 8 Model Cottage, Golding Street, Tunbridge Wells when he died April 4,1901 at the Tunbridge Wells General Hospital on Grosvenor Road (photo opposite by H. Camburn).The executors of his 130 pound estate were Phoebe Marchant
(wife of William Marchant) and William Marchant, shepherd.

The last record for Edward Walker at The Fountain, 18 Calverley Road was the 1882 Kelly directory. Sometime after 1882 and before 1891 The Fountain was claimed by others to have been taken over by Henry Head who was supposedly there in 1891. However ,no 1891 census records for Henry Head at the ‘The Fountain’ was found. Several men by this name were found in census records but none at this pub. It is known from the 1911 census that 18 Calverley Road was the tailors and outfitters shop of Frederick Adam Smyth was still in business there up to at least 1922 when he is listed at that address in the 1922 Kelly directory.

The next confirmed operator of The Fountain appeared in the 1899 and 1903 directory at 29 Calverley Road as Richard White, beer retailer, indicating that sometime in the 1890’s the pub had moved across the road to the north side, into a building two doors down (east of ) the Calverley Road Baptist Tabernacle. A photo of the pub at this new location is shown opposite. As can be seen from the photo the building the pub occupied was finished on an old tudor style with white render and exposed woodwork with two roof gables facing Calverley Road and with two bay windows above the pub. The main floor of the building was occupied by the pub and the upper floor provided accommodation for the pub operator and his family and perhaps some rooms for lodgers.  As can be seen from this photo it was one of  A. Smith & Co’s pubs. This company was Alfred Smith & Co who had the Sevenoaks Brewery. This brewery was founded circa 1848 and located on the High Street in Sevenoaks. This brewery was sold along with its 25 public houses in 1899 to Bushell, Watkins & Co, who during their existence bought out several other breweries. Upon it acquisition of A. Smith & Co it operated under the name of Bushell, Watkins & Smith Ltd. A Smith & Co were advertised in the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser  February 25th and July 8th, 1898 as “A. Smith & Co, Pale ale and family ale brewers, Sevenoaks Brewery, and listed the ales sold and prices charged.

A review of records for 29 Calverley Road show that in 1881 it was the premises of a tailors shop operated by Eli Price who’s business premises were given as 11 Garden Road and 29 Calverley Road.

The Kelly directory of 1913 listed ‘The Fountain, Joseph Wheeler, beer retailer, 29 Calverley Road. He was still there in 1914. Shown below are some  postcard views of Calverley Road looking west from Monson Road in which can be seen The Fountain Pub . Its identity can be spotted on the right hand side near the Calverley Road Baptist Tabernacle, by comparing its image to the shop front photo given above. Of the images below the last (4th) in the series is by Kingsway and was posted in 1924, the others appearing to have been produced earlier. The 1909 os map does not label any public house on Calverley Road between Monson Road and Grosvenor Road. The only one shown was the Camden Inn on the north east corner of Calverley Road and Camden Road and the Grosvenor Hotel on the north east corner of Grosvenor Road and Calverley Road.

The last known occupant of 29 Calverley Road was a beer retailer by the name of Henry Farmer who was found there in directories of 1918 and 1922 but no mention of the name “The Fountain” was given in the listing. It is expected however that this business was still The Fountain Tavern.

Definitive information about who ran The Fountain pub after Henry Farmer in 1922 was not found. It is known that the building at 29 Calverley Road was demolished in the 20th century to make way for Burton’s building. The exact date of its demolition was not established but since the Burton building was of the Art-Deco style, popular in the 1920's and early 1930's that in itself gives some indication of then the Fountain Tavern building was demolished. A photo of Burton's shop is shown opposite.


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