I am delighted to report that on 29th September the Mayor of Croydon, Toni Letts, will unveil a memorial stone and public lectern commemorating the former existence of the Royal Beulah Spa, which once dominated the hills of Upper Norwood. We have written here before about the Spa and the important role played by Thomas Atkinson in its reinvigoration in the mid-1830s, when he redesigned the grounds and several buildings at the site. He is mentioned on both the plaque and the lectern.
The spa was later visited by Queen Victoria – which is how it became Royal Beulah Spa – and for a decade or so became a major out-of-town attraction for thousands of wealthy London citizens, who would go there to ‘take the waters’, that the famous scientist Michael Faraday described as equal, if not superior to those of Bath, Wells and Cheltenham.
The commemoration is organised by the Beulah Spa History Project, founded by local author Chris Shields, whose book, The Beulah Spa 1831-1856 A New History, was instrumental in drawing to public attention the remarkable history of this long-forgotten London landmark. He was backed by the Friends of Spa Woods, the Norwood Society and the Mayor. As well as a plaque it also includes a lectern that explains to visitors to the site – which is now only a vestige of the former pleasure gardens – how it once looked.
The unveiling of the plaque at the original site of the spa in Upper Norwood will include live music from the All Saints Clarinet Quartet and a period dance performance in Victorian dress by Mrs Bennet’s Ballroom Company.