Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells February THE

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					 "Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells"

February 2009

Further support of the producers/publishers of the CD-Rom
“Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells”.
Information on www.royaltunbridgewells.org

May 2008

St John’s Church is celebrating – 150 years (1858 – 2008)
Celebration Week 10-18 May 2008
Local History Display of St John’s Neighbourhood and Culverden
Selected historic images courtesy of www.royaltunbridgewells.org

August 2007


        Count down to Open Days - The Courier, Friday 31-08-2007

   There are just six days to go before the doors are thrown wide open on Heritage
   Open Days across Tunbridge Wells. Organisers said they were expecting many
   more visitors at events between Thursday and Sunday (6 - 9 September) than
   last year’s estimated 5,000. The Open Days are organised by the Tunbridge Wells
   Borough Council, Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society, Historical Graphical
   Record of Tunbridge Wells Society - www.royaltunbridgewells.org ,
   Southborough Society and other amenity and community groups.

    Information on www.tunbridgewellsheritageopendays.org.uk
April 2007


Community & Living | Community Links | History

History and Heritage

   Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells
   A contemporary map of Royal Tunbridge Wells in 2006 has been edited to give access to
   more than 3500 images:

          • over 2000 photographs of Royal Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall taken in 2003-2005
          • over 1500 old pictures (engravings, post cards, photos) with historic documentation
          • old maps of the town Tunbridge Wells, restored and edited with zoom-in features
          • electronic text of many old books published during the last two centuries
          • churches, schools, hotels, societies, associations, clubs, personalities, notable people,

   Visit the website for samples from the CD Rom and further details of purchase.
   All profits are donated to the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra (RTWSO).
   RTWSO is a Registered Charity - No. 295781





A special Heritage Walking Trail through Royal Tunbridge Wells in celebration of
the 400th Anniversary of the discovery of the Chalybeate Spring.
Selected historic images courtesy of Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery
and The Historical Graphical Record of Tunbridge Wells Society,
found at www.royaltunbridgewells.org

Sunday 1 October 2006 – Royal Tunbridge Wells 400th Anniversary Concert


 This concert is made possible with the support of the producers of the CD-Rom
 “Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells”.
 Information on www.royaltunbridgewells.org

Ellie Broughton, TWBC Head of Corporate Marketing and Communications


A three year labour of love by local couple Daniel and Katharina Bech has resulted in a fascinating
compilation of contemporary and archive material illustrating the history of Royal Tunbridge Wells.
The collection, “Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells – 400th Anniversary Edition”, is
available on a CD-Rom being sold to raise money for Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra.

The CD-Rom is testament to a huge collaborative effort. Many local residents loaned private
collections of pictures, postcards, photos, articles, books and other artifacts relating to the town to
the Bechs who then made digital copies. The local Museum and Art Gallery and the Reference
Library were also plundered for their treasures of illustrations and words.

Each image has been linked to a map of Royal Tunbridge Wells so users simply click on any of the
town’s 399 streets to reveal words and pictures relating to their past. Anyone with access to a
computer can use the CD.

Together the material illustrates the social and architectural history of our town with commissioned
recent photos ensuring the collection is up-to-date and comprehensive. Clubs and societies,
churches and schools, notable personalities and local services all feature and there are statistics
relating to the town too.

A CD-Rom was first published in 2003, but this special 400th Edition has been considerably
updated. With over 3,500 images to browse, it is a stunning and fascinating read for anyone who
lives in, or loves, the town. And for anyone with a school project or research to undertake it is
difficult to imagine a more useful resource.

Daniel and Katharina, who used to live in such cosmopolitan places as New York, Rome and
London, chose to move to Royal Tunbridge Wells because of its stunning setting in the beautiful
High Weald, yet close enough to London (and Hasting’s Fish Market). They say, “Although it has
taken a lot of time to put the collection together, we’ve enjoyed learning more about where we live
and local people. We are delighted by the response the project has received up to now.”

Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells – 400th Anniversary Edition can be ordered
online at www.royaltunbridgewells.org. The CD-Rom costs £10 pus £1 postage and packing and all
profits go to Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra.
Royal Tunbridge Wells 400th Anniversary website -

Commemorative items

 ”Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells”
 Produced by Daniel Bech

 Daniel Bech is planning to produce a special 400-year commemorative edition of
 the already popular CD-Rom for 2006. It provides an historical pictorial record of
 Tunbridge Wells using old postcards, pictures, engravings and old maps.
 It incorporates photographs of most streets in Tunbridge Wells as they are today and
 also includes coverage of Rusthall. The CD will be on sale from January 2006
 at a cost of £11.00 each (including postage and packing) and all profits will be donated
 to the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra.
 For more information and how to obtain a copy of this CD please visit

Mary Harris, The Courier
Friday, 26 August 2005

                           Town setting for mystery series

        American Writers chose spa town as the location for their latest 2 books

         MISS Marple might be halfway to solving her latest murder as she crosses
   Royal Tunbridge Wells common. While in London, bowler hatted men with
   brollies prevail and an occasional horse-drawn cab winds its way through the

        The belief of many American that England is still peopled by characters akin
   to an Agatha Christie novel may explain the current literary fondness for “cozy
   mysteries”. A fictitious tea museum in Tunbridge Wells is the centre piece of two
   such books, which no doubt are best read with a cup of lapsang souchong beside an
   open fire.
     Co-written by a husband and wife form the USA, Ron and Janet Benrey,
they feature amateurs with attitude. Dead as a Scone and soon-to-be published
The Final Crumpet, conjure up a world of unexpected death, ancient crimes and

     This genre sells well in America, say the authors, where many still perceive
England as locked “in a kind of time warp”. The BBC does an excellent job of
feeding the anachronism with its classic mystery shows. Some of our friends who
haven’t yet visited England assume they’ll see bowler hats. They envision ladies in
tweed skirts and wouldn’t be surprised to meet Miss Marple. We see the Wells as a
town that offers gentility, conservative values and, perhaps, a touch of primness,”
said Ron.

     In “Dead as a Scone”, published in England by Nova Publishing, 84-year-old
Dame Elspeth Hawker, the matriarch of the tea museum in Bridge road, discovers a
nasty secret. Before her announcement at a board of trustees’ meeting she keels
over dead. New curator at the museum Felicity Adams suspects poisoning and her
investigation with acting museum director Nigel Owens takes them back to the 19th

     Janet, who grew up and was schooled in Tunbridge Wells, said: “We decided
to locate our tea museum in Royal Tunbridge Wells because the Wells has a
‘veddy, veddy’ British flavour that makes it an ideal location for a cozy mystery.
“We also couldn’t find any other mystery series set in the town and felt the time
had come to correct this oversight. As I grew up here, we felt comfortable writing
about the Wells.”

     In the second novel, “The Final Crumpet”, Flick and Nigel dig up the
remains of Etienne Makepeace, a murdered “bon vivant philanthropist and noted
tea sage”. The grisly remains uncovered at the museum generate enormous
publicity and the pair find themselves in the middle of “Cold War skullduggery”.

    The Royal Tunbridge Wells Mysteries is the Benreys’ second mystery series.
They describe the earlier ‘The Pippa Hunnechurch Mysteries” published by
Broadman and Holman, as a “real detective, a little edgier”.

    The couple, who are both in their 60s, live in Maryland and have two sons.
They last visited Tunbridge Wells in May, when they enjoyed a “wonderful party”
in York Road organised by Daniel Bech and Katharina Mahler.

      Daniel and Katharina, who last year produced a CD Rom entitled
“Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells”,
provided crucial images to inspire the Benreys and even snapped “custom-taken”
shots. Ron said: “That has been a wonderful resource for us in writing. We were the
first to purchase the CD-Rom outside the UK. We really enjoyed our stay and
celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary with our two sons in Thackeray’s.”
       Although the tea museum situated on Bridge Road exists only in the Benrey’s
  imagination, they admitted to them it as “real”. They have even produced intricate
  floor plans of the “impressive four storey Georgian-style building”.

       Speaking of the benefits to a town writing of it can bring, Daniel Bech said:
  “Writing about Tunbridge Wells makes people curious about it and can influence

  * Dead as a Scone is available through on-line book dealers including Amazon and
  Amazon UK or through UK distributors, Kingsways in Eastbourne, on

  * More information on: www.teamuseum.org/rtw.php

Sunday 3 April 2005 – CIVIC CONCERT (in the presence of the Mayor)


This concert is made possible with the support of the producers of the CD-Rom
“Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells”.

Sunday 4 December 2004 – Christmas CONCERT


This concert is made possible with the support of the producers of the CD-Rom
“Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells”.
Mary Harris, The Courier
Friday, 5 March 2004

                Living archive created from town’s dusty past

        Couple collaborate with some of the community’s key figures
        to compile a stunning CD-Rom depicting town’s graphical history
        and broad social spectrum

        Interactive map looks at the town then and now

         TREASURE trove of historical and contemporary information on Tunbridge
   Wells paired with a husband and wife team's technological know-how has led to the
   creation of the Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells CD-Rom.

       For the first time, people's fascinating private collections from Tunbridge
   Ware and engravings to old books and charming "over-painted" postcards have
   been showcased on the disc of visually stunning material.

       It features 399 of the town's streets in an interactive map with modern
   photographs taken last summer by the IT professionals Daniel and Katharina Bech.

        What sets this collection apart is that it takes in the whole social spectrum of
   Tunbridge Wells. The roads of Sherwood and Showfields - looking luscious with
   leafy green trees and verges - sit alongside pictures showing the grandeur of
   Warwick Park and Nevill Park. The poorer areas of the town have up until now
   been less documented but this new project has put the record straight.

        There are pictures of the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre under
   construction. Before the work began much of the area resembled inner city
   deterioration, with boarded up and vandalised shops, strewn rubbish, dilapidated
   homes and over-laden washing lines.

       Also depicted is the former Town Hall - Decimus Burton's Calverley Parade,
   which was demolished in the 1930s.

        There are wonderful anecdotes relating to the disc's creation - a spirited
   teacher's attempts to take aerial photographs which were thwarted when the hot air
   balloon sailed away and the 82-year-old who was so keen to view the project, they
   bought a lap-top and took "computer lessons" from a fellow Civic Society member.
     The pictorial project was born out of the Telephone House saga, when
residents pooled information relating to York Road in bid to prevent a housing
development. Although they failed to halt the construction, they discovered a
wealth of information about their town and many contributors eager to provide
words, pictures and the loan of artefacts.

     Although the Bechs describe themselves as "only the compilers", they have
spent countless hours taking 3,500 photographs, scanning in reams of literature, co-
ordinating contributors and setting out the pages.

    Not only has this collaboration drawn information from far and wide it has
brought together key figures from Tunbridge Wells. The contributors' list reads like
a "who's who" of the town's personalities.

     When some of these people gathered for a group photograph at the Bech's
sunny home in York Road, the animated chit-chat featured tantalising snippets of
local news. People with a passion for Tunbridge Wells and its goings-on, of both
past and present, were only too happy to catch up. The meeting produced such
erudite, community-based observations as, "I believe the first cherry blossom this
year is at Liptraps Lane" and "you know the Local Plan inquiry will look at
affordable housing next week?" and "Michael Page painted the most wonderful
water-colour of Thackeray's".

      At the good-natured gathering, where the CD-Rom's content was explored by
the Kent and Sussex Courier, a cheque for £500 - the first proceeds from
sales of the disc - was presented to the Royal Tunbridge Wells
Symphony Orchestra (Tuesday, 26 February 2004). It is hoped it will be the
first of many more donations to this charity.

     Holding a wedge of map sections each inked with hundreds of coloured
crosses and notes, Daniel Bech described how he and Katharina spent nearly every
fine day last summer trawling the town's roads.

     As well as snapping the streets, they captured on film special features like
ornate iron gates, leaded glass windows and chimney pots - charming details
residents and tourists alike may never have noticed. The couple joked that they now
very familiar with the top floors of the town's car parks - these buildings provided
the perfect viewpoints for panoramic shots.

     Daniel Bech said: "Almost every corner is featured. We had the best summer
to take pictures and we have used 1,300 of the photographs we took. We wanted
nearly every street to have a chance of being included. Certain roads have never
been recorded in this way. We really got to know the town by walking it. Often we
were invited into people's homes or gardens for a cup of tea or glass of lemonade.
Many people were interested in what we were doing and we got to understand the
diverse nature of the town and on the disc that diversity becomes obvious."

      Back home, the pair waded through thousands of words and images. They
laughed that they had undergone a "crash course in local history".
     Contributors came from far and wide, many laden with collectables or bearing
shoe boxes stuffed with material.

      Katharina Bech, who is a stickler for accuracy, said: "If someone made up
their mind they were going to help, they did. Everyone supplied something and we
compiled it. We never had to nag for its arrival. People just came along with their
stuff and then said 'we will wait patiently', and they did."

     Although reluctant to highlight individual efforts, the Bechs said Susan Brown
at Tunbridge Wells Reference Library gave boundless assistance and time to the
project. One of her roles involved the checking of antique maps and documents to
provide comprehensive descriptions of streets' changing images.

     Artist Michael Page of Crowborough painted without charge seven water-
colour views of Tunbridge Wells "minus cars and scaffolding" which called for a
degree of artistic licence on his part. He smilingly said he "loved the project".

     The only living individual whose photograph appears on the CD Rom, is
museum technical curator Dr Ian Beavis. By chance he was captured by the all-
seeing Bech's lens on a balmy afternoon in Dunorlan Park netting pond life. It is a
human touch which signifies the energy of the project, a living archive which is
worlds away from a dusty, creaking history of Tunbridge Wells.

     Daniel Bech added: "There are pockets of lots of different communities in
Tunbridge Wells. But these pockets have never before formed a cluster and as a
cluster they can do far much more. This CD can be added to and it can grow."

     Articles include Ian Myers' study of religious life in Tunbridge Wells, Dr
Phillip Whitbourn's booklets on Trinity Church and Beulah Road, Geoffrey and
Brenda Copus' town walks and Carl Openshaw's article on cricket in Tunbridge

     The disc, which features local statistics and all the clubs and societies the team
could get hold of, was launched at a Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra
concert at the Assembly Hall in January (2004).

      Within one hour of the promotional internet site going live, the first customer
was Ron Benrey from Maryland, USA, who along with his wife Janet - who used to
live at Number 13 Eridge Road - is writing a mystery novel set in Tunbridge Wells.
A copy was also bought by Andrew Ellis, from Merseyside, who considers himself
an "exile living in the north".

      The Historical Graphical Records of Tunbridge Wells Society, formed for
distribution purposes, is selling the CD-Rom at £10 per copy (+£1,--p/p).
Visit www.ebay.co.uk or write to 70 London Road, Tunbridge Wells, TNI 1DX
stating name and address, telephone number and the number of copies required.
Payment should be made by cheque.
Diane Talbot, TWBC PR-Manager


Last year, in 2003, the Historical Graphical Record of Tunbridge Wells Society 'catalogued'
Royal Tunbridge Wells Past and Present and launched a CD-Rom,
'Historical and Interesting Views of Tunbridge Wells'.

A contemporary map of Royal Tunbridge Wells has been edited to give access to:

   •    over 1,300 photographs of Royal Tunbridge Wells taken in 2003
   •    about 1,000 old pictures (engravings, postcards, photos) with historic documentation
   •    old maps of Royal Tunbridge Wells with zoom-in features
   •    electronic text of many old books published during the last two centuries
   •    a record of Royal Tunbridge Wells: churches, schools, societies, associations,
        personalities, notable people, mayors are catalogued

The CD is available for £10 plus £1 p&p.
All revenue will be donated to the Royal Tunbridge Wells Symphony Orchestra (RTWSO).
The result is reflected on the promotional site: http://uk.geocities.com/RTWhistory

For copies please contact:
The Historical Graphical Record of Tunbridge Wells Society
c/o Cmdr George Lawson (Hon Treasurer), 70 London Road,
Royal Tunbridge Wells TN1 1DX.

Please make cheque payable to: HGRTWS.