Taking advantage of sunny sunday afternoon, and hoping for light traffic in the town, we spent the afternoon photographing churches. I took a few pictures of other buildings to allow comparison with views in my Antique Postcard Album.
Tunbridge Wells is a Spa town which has been systematically destroyed by over development and unsympathetic town planning. The town is completely unable to cope with the levels of traffic and people brought in by the new housing estates. However there are still some gems to be found amid the hideous one way systems and ubiquitous red brick monstrosities, the dubious contributions of our generation.
Here is a view of the town from Mount Ephraim, with the opera house, left, Holy Trinity Church (behind the crane) and St Peter's Church on the skyline. The large building on the extreme right is, I believe, the modern Land Registry at Hawkenbury. There is a similar view in my Poscard Album here.
Here is the Civic Centre, which replaced Decimus Burton's Calverley Parade and Calverley Terrace, shamefully demolished in 1938 to allow this overpowering building to be errected.
Here is a view looking from the corner of Mount Pleasant and Crescent Road into Church Road. Holy Trinity Church and the old cinema (soon too be re-developed) are the main features. A similar view of this junction in more genteel times can be found here in my Postcard Album.
Here is a side view of the opera house - it looks as if there have been recent repairs to the copper dome.
Here is a view of the facade. I have used electronic perspective correction to straighten the walls. There is a historic postcard of the same view taken soon after the building was erected in my Postcard Album. The buildings now present each side of Dudley Road did not permit me to include the whole facade; there was a better view one hundred years ago!
Here is a view of Vale Royal and the Methodist Church. Castle House, formerly the Castle Hotel, is the first building on the right. There is a similar view in my Postcard Album from the early 20th century - apart from the buildings in the distance and the street furniture little has changed.
A view of Camden Road featuring two public houses - the Foresters Arms on the left and the Crystal Palace across the road junction.
The façade of the 1901 Crabb Memorial Institute was preserved in so called Market Square (which also contains the Calvary Church), when the grotesque Royal Victoria Place shopping centre was erected, destroying completely the character of this part of the town. The town plan is now open to the idea of even this small open space being in-filled with yet more faceless shopping malls - the future of this unlisted building façade is not even now secure.
Here is the plaque on the front of the façade.
Hanover Road joins Grosvenor Road (at the bottom of the hill). It contains the Hanover Chapel and the premises of the Tunbridge Wells Christian Fellowship (seen on the right).
Monson Road has a terrace of buildings with an elegant and continuous iron balcony.
The Pantiles - the town's most famous location.
Click here for a complete index of my Tunbridge Wells images.
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Photographs © Mark Collins 2006
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