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New acquisitions: a late 1920s typewriter purchased from Goulden & Curry, Tunbridge Wells

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Beau Nash

A print based on Thomas Loggan's painting of the Pantiles, of about 1745
In 1735, Richard 'Beau' Nash appointed himself Master of Ceremonies, and retained control of the entertainments provided for visitors until his death in 1761. He had become well known in the same role at Bath, where he had presided for thirty years. Bath, it was said, was his kingdom, and Tunbridge Wells a colony of that kingdom. Nash had been interested in taking control at Tunbridge Wells for some years, but had been excluded by the formidable Bell Causey, who 'presided as absolute governess' until her death in 1734. As well as organizing entertainments, Nash established strict rules for correct behaviour. In order to ensure that visitors paid subscriptions for services provided, he introduced Sarah Porter, 'Queen of the Touters', who eagerly pursued defaulters. Under Nash, Tunbridge Wells attained the height of its fame as a fashionable resort, attended by royalty, nobility, and the most famous names in the country.
Beau Nash, Master of Ceremonies, about 1745


Last updated: 09 Feb 2006
Tunbridge Wells Museum and Art Gallery, Civic Centre, Mount Pleasant, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1JN
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