Dennise Robinson
Dennise Robinson - Author of Tunbridge Wells Life.

The History Of Royal Tunbridge Wells

The History Of Royal Tunbridge Wells


Tunbridge is marketed internationally as the historic home of the Tunbridge Wells rocket, built by William Congreve in the early 19th century. It was a significant contribution to rocketry, as it was the first liquid fuelled rocket. The town became sufficiently prosperous during the 18th century to have a theatre, a silk factory and an art academy. The theatre no longer survives, but its location on what is now called Theatre Lane can still be seen.


During the 13th century the town and surrounding area formed a rural manor held by the Bishop of Rochester, Tunbridge Wells Life ( The town has been a popular tourist destination for over 250 years, with its prominence as a fashionable health resort peaking during the late 19th century. The population of Royal Tunbridge Wells increased greatly from 10,000 to 16,000 residents during the construction of the railway line connecting it to London. The construction was envisaged through new legislation passed by parliament in 1805 for which Royal assent was finally given on 16 June 1823 and a route was approved two years later.

A separate railway line was sanctioned in 1849, intended to give better access to Brighton. It opened in 1858 but never really prospered because it had. Royal Tunbridge Wells is situated on the edge of the Weald, an area of Kent that is famous for its numerous well-established woodland, heath and downland. The town itself was founded on a gentle hill that today stands between the two main suburbs of the town: Royal Tunbridge Wells itself and neighbouring Sandhurst.

Back in 1902 it was noted that both these areas were locations for 'superb villa residences'. Shortly after this, Sandhurst became home to some of the most expensive properties in England. Royal Tunbridge Wells is a popular area for people to live due to an enhanced quality of life. The area has grown in popularity over recent years and several affluent towns are located nearby. Places such as Groombridge, Rusthall, Paddock Wood, Pembury and Worth all provide a choice of rural living.

Within the borough as a whole, Royal Tunbridge Wells is the most populous of three settlements, along with Singleside and Bayham. Royal Tunbridge Wells has by far the largest population in Kent, and is far more populous than any other settlement in the county. Royal Tunbridge Wells borough was once entirely part of Kent, before the creation of the county of East Sussex. Within historic times, significant settlement only began in the 1690s and continued until after 1820.


We are back in the county town of Kent. This time in the South East England region of Tunbridge Wells. Located on the border with East Sussex, Tunbridge Wells is considered a part of the London commuter belt, being approximately 50km from Central London. The county town of Kent, it has two tiers of local government; New Tunbridge Wells which was originally a place and not an area, has three tiers of local government. Tunbridge Wells is often referred to by the initials TN1—the sole town in the UK with a 1-digit postcode.

It was formerly known as "Teignmouth", after the nearby geological feature Teignmouth Dene, a small vale or dingle, closed in by steep hills, which was formerly the site of an important battle between the Saxons and Danes. The town is bounded to the south by the River Teise, to the north by the A26 road (London Road) and the railway line linking Tunbridge Wells Central and Tunbridge Wells West stations, and to the east by Telegraph Hill.

Outside of Tunbridge Wells itself, there is also Knole Park which is a large park with gardens and a mansion owned by the National Trust. ^ Satellite view of north-east (bottom right). Within the natural amphitheatre, excavations have revealed shafts and remains of the local iron-age Celtic tribe known as the Regni. The Celtic hill fort is outlined by a large ditch, which may have been a place of execution. Excavations in 1872 suggested it is the site of a Roman temple.


Tunbridge Wells is on the rail network, with direct services to Charing Cross, Cannon Street and London Victoria. However, it is not on the Underground network; the nearest stations are East Grinstead and Eridge for the Oxted Line (certain South Eastern trains also stop here), and Uckfield for the East Coastway Line. Services are most frequent towards Hastings/London, and there are only a few peak hour services beyond them. The town is also served by a number of bus routes connecting Tunbridge Wells to surrounding towns: Arriva Southern Counties route 3 provides numerous services into East Grinstead; Stagecoach in Hastings route 23 connects Tunbridge Wells with Hastings and Crowborough; Hailsham Bus Company's routes H.

A road system around Tunbridge Wells was developed in the 20th century. Before then the only surface road in the area was the highway from London to Brighton (now the A21). The St John's 'by-pass', opened in 1930, relieved pressure on the roads through Royal Tunbridge Wells and Pembury. In 1932 the M25 motorway was opened skirting south of the town, and since then it has grown much further. The A267 is the main road from Tunbridge Wells to the coast and then on to Eastbourne and Brighton.

Parks And Landmarks

The Pantiles'origin lies in the ancient cobbled Roman road which linked Seething Wells (Chichester) and Hastings. There are four pavilions, each at one end of the structure, which is now listed Grade II. It was given this status in 1954, but its stuccoed shopping arcades were actually built between 1829 and 1831 by Hanson & Barett, the French clock-makers hence its famous nickname "The French Clock" or "The French Tiles", for although it is not covered in tiling, but instead in small squares of limestone.

It featured as a location in the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night. The Pantiles is a historic thoroughfare in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent. It consists of the buildings and structures that run along a 300-metre (980 ft) section of the High Street. The buildings are all listed. At present, the Pantiles is dominated by chains, banks and other catering outlets. Some residents have expressed fears that the Pantiles will suffer if left in this condition.

The first landmark is of course the Pantiles, the famous colonnade which strikes you as soon as you enter the town from any direction. It was originally designed as a wild woodland walk by two doctors, Dr Johnson and his brother, in 1767. There are now also The Pantiles restaurants with outdoor seating and tea gardens, plus The Pantiles shopping centre. Parks and landscape were the reason for founding the town. Nearby woods provided not only timber for building but also shade for invalids.

The spring attracted visitors in search of health and gave its name to the Pantiles, the area usually associated with health, beauty and leisure that makes up much of the present-day town centre. The Pantiles is a historic area of Tunbridge wells and was built in 1770 as part of a Georgian expansion in the town. It was named after the large sloping roof structures which were originally designed by Christopher Tunbridge. It has undergone significant improvement, with a dual carriageway section bypassing the village of Speldhurst.


Weather statistics have been recorded in the area since 1881 but, from 1591, these have taken the form of a daily diary entry of barometric pressure, rainfall, high and low temperatures and wind direction. The average highest and lowest temperatures, at Goudhurst since 1981 are: 61. 33°F (16. 29°C) in July and 31. 28°F (-0. 42°C) in January. On average there are 72 days of highs over 28°C per year and 41 days with lows below freezing; the most extreme individual values being 37.

7°C on 1st August 1993 and 12. 6°C on 22nd December 2010; the highest temperature ever recorded at Tunbridge Wells was 36. Autumn and winter are generally dry with some sunny spells. Spring starts off mild until April when levels of rainfall increase as the year goes on. Summers are warm to hot but rarely extreme, with average high temperatures of around 21C in July and August. The warmest temperature recorded was 31. 4C in August 2003.

Frosts are not common in the town, which is unusual for its latitude, with the last hard frost in 1971 being particularly noteworthy as it caused considerable damage to plants and crops; since then most frosts have been light. Tunbridge Wells'near-central location in Britain means that it receives a good range of precipitation. Average annual rainfall is 843mm (which is close to average for the United Kingdom), with average annual snowfall of 27 days.

Temperature extremes for the period 1981–2010 ranged from 34. 4C (94. 1F) recorded during July 2006, down to 14. 3C (6. 3F) in February 1979 – although several periods of cold weather do occur where temperatures fall below 10C (14F). During the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, Tunbridge Wells was one of the most popular holiday resorts in southern England, attracting wealthy London families by train and coach. The population has risen from around 10,000 residents in the early 19th-century to 25,000 by 1901.

The following decade it doubled again, and by the outbreak of the First World War it had grown to 40,000.  For historical population figures see. On average, the warmest month is July, which has an average high temperature of 17. 5C(63. 5F) (1981–2010 data). The coolest month is January, with an average high temperature of 8. 3C(46. 8F). The highest temperature recorded within the town took place on 10 August 2003. It produced a temperature of 35.