SOCIETY AT ROYAL TUNBRIDGE WELLS - Online Book

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

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Royal Tunbridge Wells
loved driving for its own sake. Before leaving the subject, something must be said of the quaint custom of " touting," or " tooting," as it was perhaps in its original form; that is to say, waylaying travellers to the spas, in order to solicit patronage during their sojourn.
" Some sev'n or eight Mile off, to give you the Meeting, Barbers, Dippers, and so forth, we send to you greeting. Soon as they set Eyes on you, off flies the Hat: 4 Does your Honour want this ? Does your Honour
want that ? ' That being a Stranger, by this Apparatus You may see our good Manners, before you come at
us. Now this, please your Honour, is what we call Tooting, A Trick in your Custom to get the first Footing."
The custom was carried out particularly on the road to Epsom, where at a certain spot emissaries of the tradesmen at the watering-places would approach the travellers; and, though it has been suggested that the custom was called Tooting after the place, it seems to many authorities more probable that the custom gave the name to the place. Many will remember that " touting " is mentioned by Thackeray in The Virginians, on the occasion of Harry Warrington and Colonel 78
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