After the Civil War and the restoration of the monarchy, King Charles II and his Queen, Catherine of Braganza, came to Tunbridge Wells.
The presence of the Court attracted other visitors who were primarily focused on the pursuit of pleasure rather than necessary medical activities.
The demand for entertainment and social amenities, together with the breakdown of rigid social barriers lead to a less formal atmosphere. It was at this time the Wells acquired its reputation as “les eaux de scandale”.
In 1698, Princess Anne, who was a frequent visitor to the Wells gave £100 to have the Upper Walk paved after her son, the Duke of Gloucester, slipped and fell whilst playing.
When she returned the following year nothing had been done and she left never to return.
Eventually the Walks were paved with Pantiles which were clay tiles baked in a pan.
Next in this timeline, we introduce Richard ‘Beau’ Nash who came onto the Spa scene. He was an 18th century fashion icon and famous celebrity of the time.
In 1735, Beau Nash established himself as Master of Ceremonies during ‘the season’. He did this by establishing the social protocol thus: the ‘Upper Walks’ for the gentry only, the ‘Lower Walks’ for everyone else.
The day would start by drinking the waters, this was followed by breakfast and attendance at Chapel. The rest of the morning was taken up by such activities as walking or riding in the surrounding countryside.
After dinner, visitors were seen promenading on the Pantiles in formal dress before attending the Balls and Gaming held in the Assembly Rooms.
There is a red plaque on 40-46 The Pantiles to celebrate Beau Nash’s contribution to the history of the Pantiles.