The Weald of Kent, Surrey and Sussex
Calverley Hotel [a.k.a. Mount Pleasant House, Hotel du Vin]  Crescent Road  Calverley Park  Tunbridge Wells  

Books and other documents
PublishedTitle, author and references
1766The History of Tunbridge Wells by Thomas Benge Burr ⇒ p. 104
1840New Guide for Tunbridge Wells by John Colbran and edited by James Phippen ⇒ p. 53
1883Pelton's Illustrated Guide to Tunbridge Wells by J. Radford Thomson, M.A. ⇒ p. 44
1909English Homes and Villages (Kent & Sussex)
also published as
Tunbridge Wells and its Neighbourhood by Lady Hope ⇒ p. 30

Historical records

1776Historynoble modern brick houseBurr's Tunbridge Wells

Mount Pleasant gives site to a noble modern brick house, built in a genteel taste, upon the brow of this delightful hill, which commands an extensive prospect of the place. This was lately the property of the right honourable the Earl of Egmont; but is now possessed by Mr. William Gratton, master of the Glocester-Tavern

1797Mount PleasantMount Pleasant, Tunbridge WellsCalverley Hotel [a.k.a. Mount Pleasant House, Hotel du Vin]The Tunbridge Wells Guide

1829HistoryCalverley HotelColbran's Tunbridge Wells

[Starting in 1829] the most important alterations were commenced that the Wells had yet seen. These were made on the Calverley Estate which is the property of John Ward, Esq. of Holwood, in the County of Kent. This gentleman having purchased the Calverley and other considerable property adjoining it, … determined upon erecting a number of edifices suitable to the reception of genteel families; and simultaneously with the larger buildings, a number of shops, &c. in their immediate neighbourhood, so that the residents upon this estate might enjoy the same advantages as those who lived nearer the Springs. In the autumn of 1828, this extensive undertaking was commenced from the designs of Decimus Burton, Esq. the eminent Architect of Spring Garden, London; the Messrs. Bramah, of Pimlico, having taken the ground necessary for the purpose, on a building lease. As these buildings progressed, it was evident that a new town was springing up - villas, a terrace, a parade, rows of shops, &c. soon began to develope themselves, and advanced steadily to completion.

Calverley Park comprises 26 acres, adjoining to and overlooking 20 acres of meadow and pleasure grounds in front of the Hotel, and contains twenty-four villas, chiefly of the Italian and Grecian style of architecture. The elegant appearance of these buildings attracts attention and excites admiration; and the views from the Park are at once extensive, diversified, and beautiful; equal, if not superior, to any at the Wells.

At the north west side of the park, is Calverley Promenade, built in the form of a crescent. This row of buildings (seventeen in number) was originally intended for shops, but within the last two years several of them have been converted into dwelling-houses. At one end of the promenade there are Shampooing and Vapour Baths; in the centre, a Library, Reading Room, &c., opposite to which is a Fountain, and beyond that a temporary Orchestra has been erected, where, in the season, a band is stationed to amuse the company. Immediately adjacent to the promenade is the Calverley Hotel, which has been recently finished; the accommodations here are of the first-rate description, and the situation in which it is placed, commanding as it does an uninterrupted view over delightful scenery, renders it one of the most charming spots in the country.

On the opposite side of the road from the Hotel is Calverley Terrace, consisting of four double Villas with pleasure grounds in front and gardens behind, communicating with the stables, coach-houses, &c. Calverley Parade, immediately adjoining, is a range of twelve houses (which were the first built) on a similar scale to those of the terrace, but smaller; and at the back of these are the Calverley Mews, which afford extensive accommodation for horses and carriages, independent of those which are attached to the houses on the terrace and parade. A short distance from the latter, is an excellent Commercial and Family Hotel, called the Camden; next to which is a Market House, one of the most elegant buildings in Tunbridge Wells. … On a line with this is Calverley Place consisting of twelve houses and shops

1835HistoryCalverley HouseColbran's Tunbridge Wells

Her present Majesty [Queen Victoria], with her royal mother, the Duchess of Kent, having frequently honored Tunbridge Wells by residing there in the season, chiefly at Calverley House, the inhabitants were anxious to afford them a growing proof of their attachment and gratitude. At a meeting of the Freeholders of Rusthall Common, in the autumn of 1834, it was considered that the most appropriate record of their feelings would be shewn in planting a Grove on the common, adjoining Queen Anne's Grove, to be called the Victoria Grove. … [and] on Thursday, the 12th of February, 1835, soon after one o'clock, notwithstanding the torrents of rain which were then falling, the committee of management with the magistrates, and a great number of the inhabitants, preceded by the local band, went in procession from the upper assembly room to the spot selected for the new grove. Precisely at half-past one, William Scoones, Esq. as representative of the Lord of the Manor of Rusthall, planted the first tree, a Lime, and spoke to the following effect :- " In the name and on behalf of Thomas Christopher Gardner, Esq. I plant this tree, being the first of a series of trees to be called the Royal Victoria Grove; and I hope they may flourish for ever and ever, as well as their Royal Patroness." Three cheers were then given, and the band played the national anthem. … On the evening of the 12th upwards of two hundred of the clergy, magistrates, gentry, and inhabitants dined at the Upper Assembly Rooms in celebration of the event. The grove is 550 feet long and 50 feet wide, and consists of three rows of trees, Elms, Limes, and Sycamores - the trees being planted 12 feet apart.

1839Tunbridge WellsTunbridge WellsHotelColbran's Tunbridge Wells

1839BuiltDesigned by Decimus BurtonCalverley Hotel [a.k.a. Mount Pleasant House, Hotel du Vin]

Decimus Burton was born on 30th September 1800 in the parish of St Pancras, London, and christened in Old Church, St Pancras on 18th July 1802, the tenth son of James Haliburton and his wife, Elizabeth (nee Westley). James Haliburton, later Burton, (1761-1837) was one of the most significant builders of Georgian London, responsible for large areas of Bloomsbury, as well as St. Johns Wood and Clapham Common and, in collaboration with John Nash, the development of Regents Park. In 1828 he started building a new seaside town at St. Leonards near Hastings based closely on his experiences at Regents Park. The first four children were christened Haliburton but from 1794 onwards the remaining six children were all christened as Burton. The fourth child, James Haliburton (1788 - 1862), was to have an eminent career as an Egyptologist. After the birth of their last child, Jesse, in 1804, the family moved to Mabledon, Quarry Hill, Tonbridge and Decimus Burton was educated at Tonbridge School followed by several years in the Royal Academy Schools in Somerset House where Sir John Soane was Professor of Architecture.

Through his father's connections, Decimus gained many early commisions in Regents Park in London (including the family residence at The Holme) before gaining the design for his first major public building at the Colosseum in 1823, followed by the Ionic Screen at Hyde Park Corner in 1825, the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner in 1826, Cornwall Terrace in Regents Park, the Athenaeum Club in Pall Mall and Trinity Church, Tunbridge Wells in 1827, Charing Cross Hospital in 1831, Fleetwood, Lancashire in 1836, and, later in 1846, The Palm House at Kew. In 1850 Decimus began the second phase of building at St Leonards on Sea, originally, commenced by his father

In 1826, the 870 acreage Calverley Estate was acquired by John Ward J.P., M.P. (1776-1855). He commisioned Decimus Burton "to erect a number of edifices suitable to the reception of genteel families, and simultaneously with the larger buildings, a number of shops, etc in their immediate neighbourhood, so that residents upon the estate might enjoy the same advantages as those who lived nearer the Springs." By 1839 all the Calverley Park villas were complete and Decimus Burton had taken possesion of No 4. In that same year the Calverley House (previously Mount Pleasant House) had been extensively refurbished and extended by Decimus Burton. In the years that followed his commisions in Tunbridge Wells and the surrounding area were extensive and included The Grove at Penshurst, Burrswood at Groombridge, Bentham Hill and St Peters Church at Southborough, Hollands at Langton Green and St Marys Church at Riverhead.

In 1832 Decimus Burton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and he continued in practice until 1869. In his later years, he spent his time as a lifelong batchelor between his properties at Gloucester Gardens, Hyde Park and St Leonards in Sussex. He died on 14th December 1881 in his home in London and is buried at Kensal Green cemetery.

For more information about James and Decimus Burton see the Hastings Museum web site

See also

1840Calverley HotelCalverley Hotel, Tunbridge WellsColbran's Tunbridge Wells

1st Jul 1859Horticultural FeteHorticultural Fete, Tunbridge WellsPrivate collection

A grand horticultural fete was held at Tunbridge Wells, in the grounds adjoining the Calverley Hotel, on Friday, July 1, 1859 which was honoured by the presence of the Countess de Neuilly, the Duke de Nemours, the Count d'Eu, and suite. They were conducted from the Calverley Hotel, at which they have been staying for some days, by the Hon F. G. Molyneux and other members of the committee; and, on their arrival at the entrance to the grounds, the Countess, and each of the ladies of her suite, was presented with an elegant bouquet by Mrs. George Goldney, the wife of the Rev. G. Goldney, one of the members of the committee. We will follow the noble party in their tour through the tents.

The first entered was that devoted to the productions of cottagers' gardens, where the fruits and vegetables exhibited by W. Brown, of Southborough, attracted much notice. The next tent was filled with cut flowers. Here the collection of roses shown by Mr. Hollamby, of the Strawberry Hill Nursery, near Tunbridge Wells, was most splendid; nor should we omit to notice that of Mr. Mitchell, of Tower Nursery, near Heathfield, or a box of cut verbenas exhibited by Mr. Foreman, gardener to the Rev. G. Goldney, which was deservedly commended. Among the fruit (which, however, was decidedly poor considering the liberal prizes offered) were some very fine grapes, grown by Mr. Powell, gardener to Dr. S. Newington, and a fair collection of six dishes of fruit from Eridge Castle, exhibited by Mr. Ogle, gardener to the Earl of Abergavenny. The collection of stove and greenhouse plants in this tent contained some very fine ericas, shown by Mr. Gilbert, gardener to E. L. Mackmurdo, Esq., of Hastings, and some gloxineas from the gardener of H. Reed, Esq., of extraordinary growth, also a fine collection of British and exotic ferns, grown by Mr. Maxted, gardener to J. Field, Esq. Beyond this were some splendid plants, exhibited by Mr. Gilbert, which obtained the first prize, among which were conspicuous Aphelexis sesamoides Barnsii, Rhyncospernum jasminoides, and Alamanda cathartica. Mr. Pring, gardener to Henry Reed, Esq., had many fine plants: two noble vincas, the rare and beautiful plant Cyanophyllum magnificum, Cissus discolor in great beauty, an immense plant of Coleus Blumei, Caladium bicolor, and C. distillatoria with leaves of enormous size, and a very fine Araucaria excelsa. Messrs. Rycroft and Wells, gardeners to Alderman Salomons, M.P., had a Medinella magnifica which eminently deserved its name; five or six achimenes highly commended by the judges, and many other very well-grown plants; and Mr. Drummond, gardener to J. Scott Smith, Esc., Phoenicoma prolifera Barns -, a very well-flowered Statice Holfordii, and Roella Ciliatra. The pelargoniums, though past their best, were very beautiful, Mr. Gilbert obtaining the first prize for six shows, and Mr. Pring for six fancy varieties.

The band of the Royal Artillery, consisting of fifty performers, under the able superintendence of Mr. Smith, was in attendance, and played some beautiful pieces. There could not have been less than live thousand visitors in the grounds during the day.

18th Jul 1860Calverley HotelCalverley Hotel, Tunbridge Wells by Rock & Co., LondonPrivate collection

c 1875Churchill's Calverley Hotel with the Park and Pleasure GardensChurchill's Calverley Hotel with the Park and Pleasure Gardens, Tunbridge Wells drawn by C. J. Dodd and engraved by J. T. WedgwoodPrivate collection

1880Calverley Hotel, overlooking Calverley ParkCalverley Hotel, overlooking Calverley Park, Tunbridge WellsPelton's Tunbridge Wells

3rd Apr 1881CensusWilliam Pawley, M, Head, married, age 39, born Bromley, Kent; occupation Hotel KeeperWilliam PawleyCalverley Hotel1881 Census
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Annie Pawley, F, Wife, married, age 25, born Cornwell, United StatesAngeline Pawley [Howard]
Ethel Pawley, F, Daughter, age 5, born Tun Wells, Kent; occupation ScholarEthel Pawley
Mary Hibbs, F, Visitor, single, age 26, born Ecclesfield, York; occupation: governessMary Hibbs
Julia Goodman, F, Visitor, single, age 17, born LondonJulia Goodman
Warner Wright, M, Visitor, single, age 33, born St Faiths, Norfolk; occupation SolicitorWarner Wright
George D. Carden, M, Visitor, married, age 48, born London, occupation: merchantGeorge D. Carden
George Bloaker, M, Visitor, married, age 51, occupation: manufacturerGeorge Bloaker
Julia A. Walker, F, Visitor, single, age 25, born LondonJulia A. Walker
Thos. L. Mullins, M, Visitor, single, age 44, born London; occupation: bankerThomas L. Mullins
James Somerville, M, Visitor, single, age 39, born Ft William, Inverness, Scotland; occupation: bankerJames Somerville
Fredk. Wright, M, Visitor, married, age 50, born (N K), EssexFrederick Wright
Marice Wright, M, Visitor, married, age 50, born CheshireMarice Wright
George N. Shore, M, Visitor, married, age 69, born Haselbury, SomersetGeorge N. Shore
Charles Sheal, M, Visitor, married, age 38, born IrelandCharles Sheal
Florence Sheal, F, Visitor, married, age 25, born LondonFlorence Sheal
Matilda Reeves, F, Visitor, single, age 33, born London; occupation: housekeeperMatilda Reeves
James H. Price, M, Servant, married, age 51, born London; occupation: hotel porterJames H. Price
Fanny Price, F, Servant, married, age 32, born London; occupation: servantFanny Price
Sophia Hayhurst, F, Servant, married, age 32, born Rockbn, Lancashire; occupation: servantSophia Hayhurst
Henry Good, M, Servant, single, age 25, born Rugby, Warwick; occupation: porterHenry Good
James Woodward, M, Servant, married, age 39, born Melton M, Leicester; occupation WaiterJames Woodward
Sarah Edwards, F, Servant, single, age 25, born Berting Fd, Hertford; occupation: servantSarah Edwards
Alice J. Woods, F, Servant, single, age 36, born Cardiff, Wales; occupation ServantAlice J. Woods
Jane Broad, F, Servant, single, age 22, born Cornwall, occupation: servantJane Broad
Kate Nicholl, F, Servant, single, age 23, born London; occupation ServantKate Nicholl
Phoebe Eustace, F, Servant, single, age 18, born London; occupation: servantPhoebe Eustace
Julia Cunningham, F, Servant, single, age 28, born London; occupation: servantJulia Cunningham
Anna Preston, F, Servant, single, age 20, born Greenwich, Kent; occupation ServantAnna Preston
John Ryde, M, Visitor, single, age 48, born London; occupation Retired Ship OwnerJohn Ryde
Henry John Lias, M, Visitor, married, age 55, born MiddlesexHenry John Lias
Eliza Lias, F, Visitor, married, age 55, born LondonEliza Lias

1896Calverley HotelCalverley Hotel, Tunbridge WellsPrivate collection

c 1900Calverley HotelCalverley Hotel, Tunbridge WellsPrivate collection

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