People, Society & Culture of Tunbridge Wells in the 18th Century & later.

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Royal Tunbridge Wells
attention on account of the shining scum that everywhere floated on its surface. He stopped his carriage to look at this curious thing, and presently observed that the stream in its course to a neighbouring brook left a ruddy ochre-ous substance. These uncommon appearances puzzled him, and as a child eats a new berry that he sees for the first time, so the young nobleman, borrowing a vessel from the cottage, drank of the water. The peculiar taste con­vinced him that it was no ordinary water, and the chroniclers aver that it then occurred to him that it possessed mineral qualities that might be valuable. Even the more cultivated folk of that day were not exempt from super­stition, and it may be that Lord North thought that the discovery he had made was a special sign vouchsafed to him by a guardian angel. Anyhow, happily he had the good sense to send an attendant back to Eridge House to secure four bottles, and these he filled and took to his London physicians for examination.
The physicians reported favourably, pro­nouncing the springs to be chalybeate; and they induced Lord North, as soon as the warm weather returned and the roads were practi-22
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