Royal Victoria Hotel
Summary[edit | edit source]
Opened on the 26th Oct 1828, the Royal Victoria Hotel was originally called the 'St Leonards Hotel', then the Imperial Hotel, taking the name of Victoria following the visit to St. Leonards of the Princess Victoria during 1834 in around 1840. As originally laid out by James Burton, the hotel formed the centre-piece of his new town of St Leonards, the surrounding buildings being symmetrical and having shops under colonnades.
Construction[edit | edit source]
The foundation stone was laid by John Ward, the son of John Ward, Esq. of Calverley Park in Tunbridge Wells on the 1st of March 1828 There was some difficulty in construction, the location chosen for the hotel being that of a pond known as Bullrush pond or Old Womans Tap. In 1876 one of the wings of the hotel was incorporated into the main building, leading in part to the un-mirrored appearance of the current hotel as compared to the original construction. A number of further additions/amendments to the building followed later, including the addition of a further two floors and sun lounge in 1903. The original entrance was around the rear of the hotel, so visitors would not be exposed to sea-spray as they alighted from their carriages.
Notable Visitors[edit | edit source]
The hotel rapidly became popular with members of royalty, past residents including Queen Victoria, King George V, Prince Albert, Princess Louise, Edward VII and Edward Prince of Wales. After the French February Revolution of 1848 Louis Philippe resided here for some time and was visited by Guizot and Thiers. Other distinguished visitors include:- Gladstone, Palmerston, Tennyson, King of the Belgiums, HRH the Grand Duke of Baden, Duke of Saxe Cobourg Gotha.