Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells

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The phrase Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells is a generic name used in the United Kingdom for a person, usually with strongly conservative political views, who writes letters to newspapers in a tone of moral outrage.[1] The term may have originated either with the 1944 BBC radio show Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, or with an editor of the letters page of the Tunbridge Wells Advertiser.


A "stuffy, reactionary image"[1] was associated with Tunbridge Wells by the novelist E. M. Forster in his 1908 A Room with a View, where he makes the character Lucy Bartlett say "I am used to Tunbridge Wells, where we are all hopelessly behind the times".[1]

The BBC radio show Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, first broadcast in 1944, is sometimes said to have popularised the term "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" for correspondence to newspapers.[2]

According to local historian and former newspaper editor Frank Chapman, the phrase has a different origin, starting in the 1950s with the staff of the former Tunbridge Wells Advertiser. The paper's editor, alarmed at a lack of letters from readers, insisted his staff pen a few to fill space. One signed his simply "Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells".[3]

Later use[edit]

In 1978, Radio 4 called its new listener feedback programme, Disgusted, Tunbridge Wells, though it has since been renamed Feedback.[4]

In 2009, some residents of Tunbridge Wells called the tag "inappropriate" and "stereotypical", and asked the town to drop association with it in favour of "Delighted of Tunbridge Wells".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Tunbridge Wells: The spiritual home of Middle England". BBC e-cyclopedia (BBC). 13 April 1999. Retrieved 22 August 2008. 
  2. ^ "Did "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" ever really write to newspapers?", The Times, 22 July 2002, p. 31.
  3. ^ "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells". Inside Out. BBC One. 3 October 2005. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 
  4. ^ "Disgust: How did the word change so completely?". BBC News. 15 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "We're not disgusted, we're DELIGHTED". This is Kent. 18 September 2009. Retrieved 15 February 2011. 

External links[edit]