Around 100 people gathered at the Beulah Spa lawns in Upper Norwood, south London, on Saturday to unveil a plaque and history lectern to commemorate the now almost-forgotten Royal Spa that once existed there.
Many of those attending wore Victorian clothing and danced quadrilles, just as they would have done so in the 1830s-40s when Beulah Spa was in its heyday. The unveiling of the granite memorial stone and pictorial history lectern was performed by mayor of Croydon, Bernadette Khan. Both mention Thomas Witlam Atkinson, who redesigned the gardens, built ornamental ponds and constructed several buildings on the site in the late 1830s.
Attendees included Councillor Pat Ryan (who contributed to the cost of the stone and lectern) Stephen Oxford, Secretary of the Norwood Society, Father Leonard Marsh of All Saints Church and Keith Walshe, former Headmaster of David Livingstone School.
The Spa flourished for several years in the mid-1800s, but later fell into disuse. Most of the buildings were demolished and land was sold off for housing development, although the original gatehouse and a part of the gardens still exists.
The Friends of Spa Woods, who have monthly work days tidying up the area, were all present and provided festivalgoers with tea, coffee and homemade cakes. The event was organised by Beulah Spa History Project founder Chris Shields, who has recently published a book on Beulah Spa.