Exhibition highlights plans for museum to honour the man who created the town

9 and 10 Crescent Road

PLANS for a Decimus Burton Museum in the town will be promoted at an exhibition this weekend at the Royal Victoria Place shopping centre.

Visitors will have a chance to find out more about the famed architect, the project’s designs and the opportunity give their feedback at a pop-up exhibition running from February 24 – 26.

The Royal Tunbridge Wells Civic Society (RTWCS) have their sights set on 9 and 10 Crescent Road for a new Decimus Burton museum to honour the man who designed it and the town of Tunbridge Wells as we know it today.

Their exhibition will feature visual displays of the museum’s layout, history, and its importance to the town, as well as a local architect led 3D presentation.

There will also be displays of regency era costumes, a children’s colouring competition, with prizes of £50 and £25, and guided walks of Burton’s buildings around the town centre.

The civic society is also looking to get public feedback, opinions, and comments through a questionnaire ahead of presenting their business plan to council in April.

Paul Avis, Chairman of the RTWCS and Decimus Burton society, told the Times: “This is a once in a lifetime shot and if it should go into public ground then it will be gone forever.

“Decimus burton was ahead of his time with how towns are developed for the community with housing, parks, churches, and infrastructure.


“Tunbridge Wells is a successful example of Decimus Burton’s town planning, and this museum will be a place of not just local but of national importance.”


Decimus Burton was a 19th century architect spanning the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras and is known for designing some of the most prominent structures in the UK, including Wellington Arch, Kew Gardens, London Zoo and more locally, Trinity Theatre and the Calverley estate.

9 and 10 Crescent Road, part of Calverley estate, was built in the Regency period and still has most of its original features which the RTWCS hope to preserve with the museum and study centre.

At number 9, the interior will be refurbished to show the house in its regency period while at number 10, will become the main museum with exhibitions and artifacts that promotes the life and work of Decimus Burton.

There will also be an archive and study area including a café-tea room, a shop and a sensory garden with disabled parking.

The museum will feature large exhibition spaces for talks, lecturers, and workshops with displays of his original designs, town planning and life through a range of models, audio and visual media and even virtual reality.

The Decimus Burton society has links with the Royal Institute of British Architecture and the Victoria & Albert Museum which could lend, furniture, plaster casts and paper artifacts to the society.

The society hopes the project, along with Trinity Theatre and the Amelia, will attract tourists which will help boost the town centre, benefitting local businesses and residents.

In March 2022, the civic society was given one year to develop a business plan for the museum which has garnered attention from national organisations such as the heritage lottery fund and will be presented to the council in April 2023.

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