20. Pittville Pump Room, Cheltenham
Pittville Pump Room is the jewel of Cheltenham’s Regency architecture and is the grandest survival of the town’s many spa buildings.
Built in 1830, elegant Grade I listed building is surrounded on three sides by majestic columns.
Overlooking the sweeping lawns and lakes of Pittville Park, the Pump Room is a monument to the more than 100 years of fame Cheltenham enjoyed as a Spa town.
It is now Cheltenham’s most spectacular private hire venue and regularly hosts weddings, parties and corporate hospitality.
When not in use, visitors can wander into the main auditorium of the Pittville Pump Room to see its fine interior and sample the fountain’s historically medicinal spa waters for free.
The well from which the Pump Room's waters originate was first exploited around 1740, about 25 years after the waters were first discovered in 1716. After the visit to Cheltenham in 1788 of King George III, the town became increasingly fashionable.
In the 1820s the local landowner Joseph Pitt determined to develop the northern part of the town as 'Pittville', of which the Pump Room and its spa were to form an important element as part of a pleasure garden.
The Pump Room was built by the architect John Forbes between 1825 and 1830. The building stands at the northern end of Pittville Lawn with landscaped grounds running down to a lake. The building contains the original pump, made of marble and scagliola, to which the waters are today fed by electric pumping.
In 1890, the Pump Room and the grounds passed into the ownership of the town council and they are now owned by Cheltenham Borough Council, which continues to use them for public events.
The Pump Room houses a ballroom on its ground floor and there is also a gallery under a dome. The Pump Room is frequently used as a concert hall, especially during the Cheltenham Music Festival, and at one time the upper floor housed a Museum of Fashion.
A proposal that the Pump Room should be sold following the council elections in 2007 was dropped after widespread protests, in favour of a limited privatisation which would retain the building's public use.
Pittville Park has a children’s menagerie and also a café which serves light refreshments during the summer months.
Pittville Pump Room
East Approach Drive, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire GL52 3JE