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The curious history of Tunbridge Wells a town which began its existence 400 years ago as a leafy resting spot by a bubbling mineral spring has over the centuries caught the imagination of historians, diarists, playwrights, novelists and most recently, bloggers. Thousands of words have been written about its evolution into a buoyant spa town where classes mixed, politics played out, and scandal brewed. There are also many old drawings and paintings, early postcards and black-and-white photographs. Yet, surprisingly, there has been little contemporary visual record made of the Tunbridge Wells that residents know and love so well. The images in this book have been taken over a number of years by Tunbridge Wells born and bred photographer Roddy Paine. They record scenes fond and familiar, taken in all weathers and all seasons images of streets wet with rain, sculpted rocks on the Common at dawn, vistas of fields in sunshine, favourite pubs, children playing in the parks in summer and on snowy slopes in winter. Catherine Wallis has accompanied the photographs with a gentle ramble through its history. Rather like the Regency and Georgian visitors of times gone by, Catherine is not a full time resident but has spent much of the last nine years here on visits and long stays, and writes out of delight in her happy experience here.
Roddy Paine is a commercial photographer and videographer who has run his own studio for the last thirty years. Born and raised in Tunbridge Wells, it is natural that he should turn his attention to capturing images of the town as it is today. He is married with three children.