|Downtown Royal Leamington Spa|
William Abbotts knew about a local spring owned by the Earl of Ayelsford that was reputed to have medicinal properties. Spas were all the rage with the rich in the Georgian period, and Bath with it’s famous mineral springs had become a boomtown. Maybe the same could happen here.
Abbotts tried to buy the spring, but Lord Ayelsford refused, preferring to just give the water away. Very noble, but it wasn’t making Abbott any money. He got together with his friend Benjamin Satchwell and began poking about on Abbotts property until they found a second spring in 14 January 1784. Two years later they opened the first commercial bath in town, now renamed Leamington Spa. Others wells were drilled. Abbotts opened a couple of pubs to accommodate the tourists.
By 1811 the tiny hamlet had grown to 543. In 1861 it was over 19,000, making it the fastest growing town in Great Britain. That was due in a large part to Dr. Henry Jephson who touted the miraculous waters of Leamington Spa, making it one of the most popular spas in the world in the 19th century. Queen Victoria loved it so much, she tacked “Royal” onto Leamington Spa’s name.
|Royal Pump Rooms and Baths with benches to sit in the water|
And eight miles to the south one can make a pilgrimage to the birthplace of HIM--William Shakespeare. Victorians love Shakespeare. Perhaps its his way with words or his knack for melodrama, but he is more popular now than he was in his own time. People come from all over the world just to visit the room he was born in.
Unlike other towns that grew up over night, Royal Leamington Spa does not have that tossed together look of other boomtowns. Streets are lined with trees as well as fancy homes, apartments and hotels. Valuable space was set aside for parks and gardens to further attract visitors (preferable rich ones.)
|Victoria Terrace in Royal Leamington Spa|
|Lawn Tennis Club (obviously nice place to meet ladies)|
A short documentary on Royal Leamington Spa history
A Practical Dissertation on the Waters of Leamington-Spa: Including the History of the Springs, a new Analysis of Their Gaseous and Solid Contents, the Rules for Drinking the Waters, Bathing, Diet of the Patients, and Other Regimen by Dr. Charles Loudon - 1828
a free download ebook (snappy title)