My wife grew up in the local area and we returned twenty years later with our family. I was intrigued by this fascinating landmark - the Chalybeate spring - but when we visited it we found it locked up. Down below we could see crisp packets and beer cans floating in an orange sludge, and it was immediately apparent that the spring was suffering from a serious case of being unloved.
When we discovered the history of the spring - and how it is believed to have been instrumental in beginning the royal connection with the town - it got us thinking; how could one re-invent the concept of ‘taking the waters‘ in a post-Covid world? How could the famous story be brought back to the attention of the people of Tunbridge Wells - and beyond - in a safe and imaginative way?
Following 2 years of working with the council, planning, Heritage, the land owner, the many town forums and groups, builders, architects, engineers (and the original dippers!) we now have a state of the art pumping system (using the Chalybeate water but reducing the iron and manganese to legal and palatable levels) that produces fresh mineral-rich spring water. The beautiful building has the feel of a Greek temple or amphitheatre, so we decided to create a fountain to serve as an added visual attraction. We have also installed a media screen which plays an animated story of how the spring was discovered in 1606, which gave rise to the Royal connection. We have created a fun media/audio tour map, which can accompany anyone on a half-hour loop around the town with QR codes which link to animations and audio facts.
We hope to stock the mineral rich water - some infused with botanicals - everywhere in Tunbridge Wells and send the town cryer out to proclaim “The Royal Spring is officially back open!”
Our long-term plan is to reinvest 10% of profits back into reinvigoration programmes in the local towns and high streets.