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

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A Day at Tunbridge Wells
it is very small, but often well attended," George Saville Carey wrote in 1801. " It may appear the more so, because a few people will make a full house, for, when you are in it, you feel as if the actors and actresses were tumbling into your lap, and they are generally of that description, which, like their scenes, are best seen at a distance. The mistress of this company is named Baker, whose soft and gentle manners have been in the theatrical oven so long, that she becomes crusty whenever you ask her a civil question." In spite of her manners Mrs. Baker must have done well, for the year after Carey's visit, she again rebuilt the theatre, and on a more extensive scale, at a cost of £1650. The new theatre, which was opened on July 8, 1802, had a seating capacity of £60-£70 a night, the prices charged being, Boxes 4s., Pit 2s., Gallery Is. The actors and actresses, occasionally reinforced by a London " star," were de­scribed as forming " a very respectable com­pany." The theatre was rented by William Dowton, a man who later made his mark on the metropolitan stage, and under his manage­ment were given three performances a week from July to October; the company performing
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