Monday, 19 August 2013

Tunbridge Wells (Part 1)

Just south of Tonbridge is Tunbridge Wells, otherwise known as Royal Tunbridge Wells (it gained its Royal prefix in 1909). It is a delightful town, well worth a visit even if you are not a clock spotter.

Are you ready for a nice long walk around the town? Yes? Well let's go.

You will of course arrive by train, and so our starting point is Tunbridge Wells station.





 
 
Up along Mount Pleasant Road and left into Church Road, we reach this church.
 
 
This was the Holy Trinity Church by Decimus Burton, built in 1829. However, it ceased its religious function in 1972.
 


It is now the Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre.

 
And now for a church building that is still a church. Right into London Road and then continuing until it becomes St John's Road. This, unsurprisingly given the road name, is St John's church of 1858.
 


 
Just up the road is The Skinners' School. This school was founded by the Worshipful Company of Skinners, one of the City of London livery companies.
 

The current building dates from 1887, and includes a clock which has a somewhat faded face.


 
Continuing along St John's Road we arrive at Hermes House, the headquarters of the Freight Transport Association.
 

The puzzle of the strange design of this building for office purposes is solved by the fact that it was originally built in 1931 as a Christian Science Church, for which it was used until 1959. The FTA subsequently moved to the site in 1975.



 
Further up the road we find this clock at what I assume was once Green's the chemist, but is now a Day Lewis pharmacy.
 



This is the first of the Tunbridge Wells clocks to be found in a non-working condition, as evidenced by the different times shown on each of the faces.


 
St John's Road becomes London Road again, which is where we find the Post Office.
Looking at the website www.gpoclocksytems.byethost22.com , this is probably a type 50A Post Office clock.
 
 
 
 We have been heading away from the town centre so far, straying into Southborough. it is now time to head back south. Or in fact it is Time to Remember.
 

This is a clock shop on Quarry Road.


 
Next stop is St James' church of 1862 in St James' Road.
 

The building was having some work done on its spire at the time of the visit, hence the ladders and cables in the photo below.


The skeleton dial is set somewhat in front of the facade by four rods, as clearly shown below.


 
 
Another church now, this time the Calvary Church adjacent to the Camden Centre off Camden Road.
 


 
 
And finally for Part 1 of the tour of Tunbridge Wells, we arrive at Calverley House on the corner of Camden Road and Calverley Road. 
 



So why the giant golden squirrel? Is the town overrun by mutant rodents that have breeding in the disused railway tunnel between West and Central stations? Is this some god worshipped by the ancient tribes of Kent, reasserting its power centuries after its worshippers were quashed by the Romans? No, of course not. the real answer is that the squirrel is the logo of NPI, who made the building their headquarters in 1966 (although the building is now a business and conference centre). Thanks must be given to the excellent web site www.anke.tw which provides a wealth of information on Tunbridge Wells (I wish I had looked at it before I made by visit to the town - would have cut down the walking).


The central courtyard is double gated-off (at least on a Saturday), so I could only get a glimpse of another clock guarded by two of the golden squirrels.


 
Time for a rest now before resuming our tour in Part 2.

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