Friday, 17 February 2017

Leamington Spa

More correctly, Royal Leamington Spa, derives it’s name from the River Leam which runs through the town.  There’s nothing spectacularly interesting about the history of Leamington Spa until the early 19th Century.  At this time the rise of the wealthy upper middle classes in Europe resulted in an increase in interest of the alleged medicinal value of bathing in mineral waters.  Spa towns became very popular.  Some of the more well known English spa towns include Bath, Buxton, Droitwich and Leamington. 

The explosion of interest in Spa’s resulted in Leamington Spa growing significantly.  Many of these new buildings were built in the Georgian style during the Regency era of architecture.  The Parade is probably the easiest location to see Georgian buildings.

IMG_1407Whilst the Town Hall (1884) is interesting, it’s Victorian rather than Georgian.

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Adelaide may have it’s bronze pigs but Leamington Spa has gone one better and has bronze elephants!

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We’ve previously visited and blogged about Leamington Spa so I’ll confine myself to mentioning the Jephson Gardens which form a linear park on the bank of the River Leam.  Once this is where the wealthy went to ”take the air” and be seen.  Much like Bath or Hyde Park in London.

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Main gate entrance

When first established, the gardens were in private ownership and there was an entry fee.

Opposite the gardens is the Royal Pump Room and Baths.  A spring was discovered on the site in 1811 and by 1814 the baths had been constructed.  There were 17 hot baths and 3 cold.

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Interest in “taking to the waters” started to decline around 1840 and by1860 plans were afoot to close the baths and demolish the building.  However rather than this happening a group of local businessmen bought the baths and expanded them.  The baths limped on in private ownership until 1868 when it was transferred into public ownership.

The railway station is definitely not Georgian or Victorian.

IMG_1399It’s brutal (I learned that word from watching Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs!) appearance looks very Stalinist.  A quick internet check revealed it was built in the late 1930’s.

We headed out of Leamington Spa noticing that the workers have completed the residential development adjacent to the canal at Tachbrook Road Bridge.  It was just a noisy construction site when we last passed by in September 2016. 

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Shortly afterwards a passing runner calledl out he was a blog reader!  Hell we are constantly surprised by the number of people who read these incoherent ramblings! 

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We were in open country to the east of Leamington Spa when he returned and then boarded a moored narrowboat.  So now we have met blog reader Roger from nb Paneke.

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