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Rusthall Common Tour- Page 3

COLD BATH -- Lying just over the boundary of the Common in the Beacon Hotel grounds, the bath was constructed in 1708. The yew trees which surround it today are relics of contemporary hedges. It is sometimes described as Queen Anne's Bath, as a result of an erroneous local legend that the Queen patronized it, although in fact she did not visit Tunbridge Wells after 1700. It was originally covered by an ornamental pavilion and surrounded by gardens with lakes, watercourses, and fountains, but by 1766 it had fallen into disuse. One of the ancillary buildings survived as a cottage into the twentieth century, but today there are no upstanding remains. The three lakes to the south are the only other visible features of the original pleasure grounds, having been restored in the second half of the nineteenth century and improved by Colonel Sladen in 1907-10. Sladen’s planting and landscaping of the grounds was regarded by his contemporaries as a triumph of hortcultural art, but they were sadly neglected after the death of his widow in 1936.

BULL'S HOLLOW -- An early twentieth century beauty spot frequently illustrated in town guides, first popularised when in 1905 the Conservators cleared it of undergrowth and provided seats. At the time it was noted that the rock surface there ‘presents different colours of a rich and varied character’, although this is not evident today. Bull’s Hollow is the site of a quarry (disused by 1890), named after Robert Bull, a quarryman who worked there and built a cottage in the early nineteenth century. The original cottage, occupied by several generations of the Bull family, was enlarged into its present form in the 1950s. There was a military rifle range here in 1918-19. The rocks of the quarry were first publicized as a site for climbers in 1936. Photo of Bull's Hollow

Signs of wear on the rocks where climbers' ropes have cut the soft sandstone.

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Page last updated: 04/04/2007