The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
The Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel [a.k.a. Sussex Tavern]    The Pantiles [a.k.a. The Parade, The Walks]  Tunbridge Wells  

Books and other documents
PublishedTitle, author and references
1830Guide of Tunbridge Wells ⇒ p. 32
1883Pelton's Illustrated Guide to Tunbridge Wells by J. Radford Thomson, M.A. ⇒ p. 46

Historical records

1737 to 1802HistoryThe Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel [a.k.a. Sussex Tavern]Colbran's Tunbridge Wells

The earliest information we have been able to collect concerning the theatricals of this place is, that in 1737, an itinerant group of comedians exhibited here. Afterwards Mr. Smith, better known as Canterbury Smith, visited it occasionally. He was succeeded in 1753 by an actor of his company named Peters, who used a room belonging to a public house not far from the present theatre. About 1770, Mrs. Baker erected a "Temple to the muses" on Mount Sion, a short distance from Cumberland House. She occupied this building two seasons only … Mrs. Baker afterwards pulled down the original theatre on Mount Sion, and erected a new one partly with the old materials, on the site of some premises adjoining the Sussex Hotel. But in 1801, finding it much out-of repair, she determined upon pulling it down, and building a new one upon a more extensive scale. This was accordingly done, and the present theatre was opened on the 8th July, 1802. It is a neat building, and, if properly painted and decorated, its appearance would be superior to most theatres of a similar size. … The theatre stands in two counties; the stage being in Sussex and the auditory in Kent.

1776HistoryThe Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel [a.k.a. Sussex Tavern]Burr's Tunbridge Wells

The Wells, properly so called, is the center of business and pleasure, because there the markets, the medicinal water, the chapel, the assembly-room and the public parades are situated

These parades are usually called the upper walk and the lower walk; the first being neatly paved with square brick, raised about four steps above the other, and particularily appropriated to the company; the second remains unpaved, and is chiefly used by country people and servants.

On the right hand of the paved walk in the way from the well is the assembly-room, the coffee-houses, and the shops for silver-smiths, jewellers, milleners, booksellers, Tunbridgeware, &c. From thence a portico is extended the whole length of the parade, supported by Tuscan pillars, for the company to walk under occasionally. This walk is shaded by a long row of large and flourishing trees planted on the left hand of it, in the midst of which is erected a gallery for musick; and the whole is properly separated from the lower walk by a range of neat palisades, opposite to which are the taverns, a few decent lodging-houses, and a very elegant assembly-room, with a coffe-house, and all needful conveniences for the entertainment of company.

c 1800The TheatreThe Theatre, Tunbridge WellsPrivate collection

1830Sussex HotelSussex Hotel, Tunbridge Wells by J. Clifford, Tunbridge WellsGuide of Tunbridge Wells

1831 to 1840HistoryThe Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel [a.k.a. Sussex Tavern]Colbran's Tunbridge Wells

The management for a few seasons was in the hands of Mr.W. Dowton, and in 1831 they were taken on lease by Mr. Sloman, who married the widow of Mr. H. Dowton. Mr. Sloman's lease having expired in 1838, he resigned the management, and the property is again in the hands of Mr. W. Dowton, son of the veteran actor. The theatre is open for about three or four months in the season; and, in addition to the "London stars," there is generally a very respectable company.

4th Nov 1834Princess Victoria and Duchess of Kent leaving Tunbridge WellsPrincess Victoria and Duchess of Kent leaving Tunbridge WellsVictoria I Alexandrina von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha [Hanover], Queen of the United KingdomPrivate collection

1839Tunbridge WellsTunbridge WellsSussex HotelColbran's Tunbridge Wells

1840Royal Victoria and Sussex HotelRoyal Victoria and Sussex Hotel, Tunbridge Wells by J &E HarwoodColbran's Tunbridge Wells

1840HistoryThe Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel [a.k.a. Sussex Tavern]Colbran's Tunbridge Wells

The Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel is pleasantly situated facing the Parade. Within the last few years it has been greatly improved, both externally and internally; and in addition to the comforts of the house there are gardens at the back of it, which, besides being a pleasant lounging place, present most delightful views of the surrounding country.

1880Royal Victoria and Sussex HotelRoyal Victoria and Sussex Hotel, Tunbridge WellsThe Royal Victoria and Sussex Hotel [a.k.a. Sussex Tavern]Pelton's Tunbridge Wells

3rd Apr 1881CensusEdward Martini, M, Head, married, age 45, born Naturalist (N B S), Germany; occupation: hotel keeperEdward Martini, hotel keeperThe Sussex, 51 53 & 55 The Parade1881 Census
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Clara Martini, F, Wife, married, age 41, born Dover, KentClara Martini
Kate Martini, F, Daughter, age 14, born London, Middlesex; occupation: scholarKate Martini
Frederick Martini, M, Son, age 12, born London, Middlesex; occupation: scholarFrederick Martini
Sophaine Martini, F, Daughter, age 10, born London, Middlesex; occupation: scholarSophaine Martini
Alfred Martini, M, Son, age 7, born London, Middlesex; occupation: scholarAlfred Martini
Florence Martini, F, Daughter, age 5, born London, Middlesex, handicap: dumbFlorence Martini
Lily Martini, F, Daughter, age 2, born Tunbridge Wells, KentLily Martini
Frederick Newman, M, Visitor, widowed, age 78, born Gravesend, KentFrederick Newman
Elizabeth Andrews, F, Servant, single, age 41, born Catford, Kent; occupation: housekeeperElizabeth Andrews
Susan Whittingham, F, Servant, single, age 33, born Dowling, Shropshire; occupation CookSusan Whittingham
Mary Leggett, F, Servant, single, age 25, born Norwich; occupation: kitchenmaidMary Leggett
Mary A. Wood, F, Servant, single, age 26, born London, Middlesex; occupation ChambermaidMary A. Wood
Anna Dean, F, Servant, single, age 21, born London, Middlesex; occupation: housemaidAnna Dean
Anna Sutton, F, Servant, single, age 24, born Ingfield, Sussex; occupation: nurseAnna Sutton
John Sheely, M, Servant, single, age 27, born Germany; occupation: hotel waiterJohn Sheely
Henry Fielden, M, Servant, single, age 23, born Rochdale, Lancashire; occupation: hotel porterHenry Fielden
Frances J. Walshe, F, Visitor, widowed, age 43, born Addington, SussexFrances J. Walshe
Susan C. Keane, F, Visitor, single, age 38, born IrelandSusan C. Keane
Ernest F. Wilson, M, Visitor, single, age 35, born MiddlesexErnest F. Wilson
Sophie Jacobson, F, Servant, single, age 21, born Germany; occupation: nurseSophie Jacobson

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