When the 18-year-old Princess Victoria inherited the crown after the death of William IV in 1837, it marked the start of an unprecedented period of industrial, social and political change. But how did these seismic forces affect the town of Royal Leamington Spa? And who were the people responsible for transforming Leamington from a minor Regency pleasure resort into the town we recognise today?
This is the second in our series of videos about the history of Leamington, celebrating the town’s rich history, engaging with other groups across the community in the process of story-telling, and helping share the knowledge of our local historians with new and diverse audiences – including residents of the town, tourists and school students. (You can view the first film – Birth of a Spa Town – here.)
It tells the story of Leamington’s development during the Victorian Age, and reveals how many of Leamington’s most famous landmarks – including Jephson Gardens, the Town Hall, the Mill Bridge and Victoria Park – came into being. It also explains the town’s connections to the history of lawn tennis, and why elephants are such a prominent symbol around the town.
As before, this has been a collaborative process between Leamington History Group, local film-maker Mark Ellis (Postmaster Media), Leamington Spa Museum & Art Gallery, students from local schools and actor Alan Gill.We are greatly indebted to those organisations and individuals who provided financial support to this project, including The Arts Society – Royal Leamington Spa, Stella Bolitho, Marcia Davies, Terry Gardner, Michael Pearson, Chris Pearson, Helen Pendery, Rose Pfeffer-Ward, Richard Piggott, Judith Ross, Sidney Syson and Leamington Town Council.
We plan to produce further films over the next year, and are still seeking external funding and support for this. If you are able to help, or have any suggestions either for sources of funding or for subjects for subsequent films, please get in touch with Mark Ellis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Margaret Rushton, Secretary of Leamington History Group (email@example.com).
There is a thorough summary of the Victorian Legacy video on the Coventry Telegraph website –