Once the home of Jane Austin’s family, Holden has been described as the jewel in the towns crown. Another notable owner was Lady Vandenberg. The house’s history goes back to when it was built around 1720 and this stunning Georgian Mansion is set in 4 acres of grounds which include the recently restored Victorian waterfall which once carried the waters of the famous Chalybeate Spring through the gardens. Sadly the original hundred or so acres once owned by the property have since been built on but the advantage is that Holden despite having an almost perfect setting of private gardens all around it and facing the wooded end of Southborough Common, means that it gives it a fantastic town centre location with all amenities close by such as restaurants, hotels and bars.
Holden was recently selected from thousands of hopefuls to be featured on Channel 5’s ’I own Britain’s Best Home’. An honour that the current owners take as a huge compliment of the amount of work they endured on it’s mammoth restoration.
Despite it’s glamorous history the house was left in recent years in a derelict state, it had been allowed to be neglected and run down into a very sad state not becoming of it’s stature. Broken windows, damp, rot, plaster falling off walls ceilings fallen in, the house had been ravaged by time & vandals and was crying out to have the life breathed back into her.
The current owners fell in love with her and embarked on the enormous project of restoring her back to her former glory. They faithfully restored every single detail and with advice from Local Conservation and History Society’s as well as local residents, who kindly loaned old photographs and drawings showing how this important house had once been, they were able to mould and re create missing sections of ornate ceiling cornice that had been damaged, piece back together original marble fireplaces that had been broken and restoring every aspect of the plastering, woodwork and flooring.
The House is now completed and has been renovated to an exceptional standard with no expense spared. Hand carved marble fireplaces, nickel bathroom fittings, original working shutters, marble & limestone floors compliment the stunning original floors and all of this has been achieved by also creating a home with all of the modern conveniences expected like en-suite bathrooms, huge 40ft room with a hand crafted kitchen, state of the art security, etc that you would expect in a modern house.
And the greatest achievement of all is the sense of warmth as you walk into the house, it in no way feels like an old museum but the light and airy rooms give the feeling of a beautiful family home, albeit a rather grand one !
History of Tunbridge Wells
Royal Tunbridge Wells has been attracting visitors for 400 years, ever since the discovery of the Chalybeate Spring by a young Nobleman in 1606. It’s reputation as the place to see and be seen amongst Royalty and the Aristocracy over the years makes the history of Tunbridge Wells one of the most colourful in England.
Word of the purported health-giving properties of the spring water soon spread, and visitors from London and elsewhere flocked for UK short breaks to ‘The wells’ to try the waters. Coffee houses, lodgings, shops, taverns soon sprang up in one continuous line near the spring joined by a covered colonnaded walkway which later became known as The Pantiles. This pretty and well know Colonnade is still to be seen today; visited by many on UK short breaks, the Pantiles is full of interesting boutiques and antiques shops, open air cafes, bars and restaurants.
In the early 1800’s Tunbridge Wells became a very desirable place for rich business and professional people to live. A great deal of building was undertaken to the North of the Spa as large villas and family houses were built- many of them by the architect Decimus Burton. Evidence of this Grand period of architecture survives today.
Kind Edward VII officially recognised the popularity of Tunbridge Wells with it’s many Royal and Aristocratic visitors over the centuries by granting the town it’s ‘’Royal’’ prefix. In 1909 the town became known, as it is to this day, as Royal Tunbridge Wells, one of only two towns in England to be granted this title.
Some information thanks to the Tunbridge Wells Tourist Information