DOVER KENT ARCHIVES

Sort file:- Tunbridge Wells, December, 2018.

Page Updated:- Saturday, 22 December, 2018.

PUB LIST PUBLIC HOUSES Paul Skelton

Earliest 1979

Carriages

Latest 1980

 

Royal Tunbridge Wells

Carriages Night Club

Above photo, date unknown.

Carriages Night Club

Above photo, date unknown.

Great Hall Arcade 2009

Above photo 2009 by N Chadwick Creative Commons Licence.

 

The Great Hall was designed by a local architect in a contemporary French style and built between 1870 and 1872. The Hall was built from white brick with Bath stone settings and has multiple arched sash windows.

As per the building’s name, the Great Hall contained a large hall on the ground floor to meet the growing demand at the time for public rooms for cultural activities including lectures, concerts and social events. Upstairs was a clubroom, reading room, billiard room and library.

The Great Hall was also home to a restaurant which was almost destroyed by a fire in 1887 when a passing policeman spotted smoke coming from the building. On investigation, he found the matting and floor boards on fire. He managed to put the fire out although the floor had already burned through.

The building was even home to a cinema for part of the 20th Century before the Court School of Dancing took over the main hall in 1959.

In the 1970s there were various plans discussed by the council to demolish the building and redevelop on the site. However, these were all rejected after public objection to demolishing the building increased and the Great Hall re-opened as Carriages Night Club in 1979.

The night club was destroyed by what appeared to be an arson attack in 1980, which resulted in demolition and redevelopment coming back on the agenda. In November 1983, planning permission was granted to redevelop the site, retaining the original fašade.

The new scheme incorporated a Victorian style shopping arcade and car park. The new arcade opened for Christmas 1985.

Today (2009) the Great Hall Arcade is a retail arcade with a variety of independent shops. The BBC has its regional centre in the Great Hall Arcade. It is the base of BBC Radio Kent and for BBC South East regional programming, the complex containing studios, offices and a BBC shop (now closed). A Sainsbury's Local has also opened here. Behind the arcade is the Great Hall Arcade multi-storey car park.

 

LICENSEE LIST

 

If anyone should have any further information, or indeed any pictures or photographs of the above licensed premises, please email:-

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