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

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In the Eighteenth Century
light, white sand, very troublesome when there is any wind abroad; or a deep loamy earth, which horses can hardly drag through in rainy weather; nor is there any great pains taken with the roads : so that in winter you are in a manner cut off from an intercourse with society. Though there is a turnpike-road all the way from London, I cannot say much for the goodness of it: that which lies between this place and Tunbridge town, is kept in very bad order." Thus Samuel Derrick in 1762; but in a footnote, added five years later, he chronicles a marked improvement: " The turnpike roads from London to Tunbridge Wells are vastly improved since this letter was written. There are as fine roads made into Sussex and Surrey as a man would wish to travel; and two turnpike-roads have been laid out, according to Act of Parliament, to open a communication between this place and Bright-helmstone; which will be of the highest con­sequence to the two places." Even so late as 1800 Dr. John Evans mentions that he and a friend, going to Tunbridge Wells from Maid­stone, were frequently compelled to alight from their one-horse chaise and to walk along the worst stretches of the road, in order to accelerate their progress.
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