Royal Tunbridge Wells
at the Fish Ponds upon Mount Ephraim, which, though in a neglected state, had again become a reputable, even if not a fashionable or much-frequented, resort. The promenade or the walk was, however, but the prelude to the evening's entertainment, which to most was the brightest item in the day's programme. There were concerts to perform at which the best musical performers often came down from London; there was the theatre on certain^ nights; and at the Rooms balls or card-assemblies. To these every one went, who was not debarred by an extreme of age or youth.
The theatre at Tunbridge Wells never bulked so largely in the public eye as at Bath. The first record of any dramatic entertainment at the Kentish spa is a performance in 1737 by an itinerant group of comedians. Later " Canterbury " Smith—not to be confused with the better-known " Gentleman " Smith—visited the town; and in 1753 a member of his company, named Peters, rented a large room attached to an inn. In 1770 Mrs. Baker erected a theatre on Mount Sion, near Cumberland House; but this subsequently she pulled down, and built another, partly with the old material, close by the Sussex Inn. " There is a playhouse here; 262