Looking towards the Abbey and some of the road-works from upstairs at Nero’s
- The new poster board which heralds ” a new canvas for public life” and details of the creation of ‘a more generous and enjoyable space for pedestrians’.
- In 1552 the old Market Cross was replaced by a Market House which also accommodated the City’s Guild Hall.
- The Department for Transport extra ‘add-on’
- What the High Street should look like once the road-works are completed.
An update now on concerns over the road-works being carried out on the High Street between the north side of the Abbey and the Guildhall. If you have been following this story l was concerned that deep trenches might interfere with archaeological remains in this area. It is in the vicinity of the city’s first Guildhall which John Wood the Elder tells us was designed by Inigo Jones!
Richard Sermon, who is Senior Archaeological Officer with Bath and North East Somerset Council, tells me that, thankfully, the drainage trenches being constructed for a re-working of the pedestrianised area in the High Street are in an area of previous disturbance.
I had commented upon the fact that any private developer working in an archaeologically sensitive area – like the new Gainsborough Hotel for instance – is required by planning law to do an archaeological ‘sweep’ before trenches are permitted. The same rule does not seem to apply to the local authority – which is also the planning authority!
The good news for the High Street site is that, apparently, Wessex Archaeology Ltd have been brought in to supervise the remainder of the project. BANES is spending a government grant on improving and clarifying exactly where people and traffic go in this area. The aim to make things more friendly for people and that includes the all-important ‘visitors’ to Bath.
So proud is BANES of what it is doing and so keen to share the details and the history of this important site with the public, that a large three-sided board has been installed near Rebecca’s Fountain to explain everything.
One slight embarrassment is that whoever scripted the information now displayed overlooked where the money to pay for it had come from! Look out for the little Department for Transport logo that has had to be stuck on to the printed board on all three sides. We mustn’t forget to credit the taxpayer must we!
I repeat my own personal view about the long vanished Guildhall – the foundations of which must lie somewhere beneath all these 21st century ‘improvements’ – and that is why Wessex Archaeology Ltd couldn’t maybe use some ‘geo-phys’ to locate the footprint of the Guildhall and then mark it on the surface as an added attraction for locals and visitors alike?