Bath ashamed of its past?

Bath gets taken to task for being ashamed of its industrial past in a letter from B&NES Heritage Champion Cllr Bryan Chalker published in today’s Bath Chronicle.

The Newark Works - former home of Stothert and Pitt
The Newark Works – former home of Stothert and Pitt
The Newark Works
The Newark Works

Cllr Chalker says, while he is enthusiastic about proposals for the development of the South Quays area and its role in regenerating the River Avon, he remains concerned about the future of the Grade 11 listed Newark Works – Stothert and Pitt’s former flagship building and whether its importance as  a ‘vital part’ of Bath’s industrial heritage is being considered.

He continued: ‘ To some the neglected factory/office complex is a mouldering Victorian eyesore but to others it merits sympathetic restoration and conversion into a Museum of Bath, with theatre, workshops, retail outlets and moorings for historic river craft.’

Cllr Chalker also thought it sad that there wasn’t a commemorative plaque on the Newark Works to mark its importance to Bath.

Cllr Bryan Chalker
Cllr Bryan Chalker

‘People tend to forget that Stothert and Pitt produced its legendary cranes here, including the eight electric deck cargo cranes for the Titanic and others for the Lusitania, Mauritania and Olympic. It’s also likely that the world-famous Bath company also made boilers for the ill-fated RMS Titanic.’

A second plaque, he suggests, should go up at the new Southgate development to mark the birthplace of Edwina Celia Troutt who sailed on the Titanic and survived its sinking to live to be 100.

The 1908 steam crane at Western Riverside
The 1908 steam crane at Western Riverside

‘Edwina was born in Bath on June 8th, 1884 and her address was given as Newark Street.’

A final reminder of the importance of the former works, says Cllr Chalker, is the 1908 rail-mounted steam crane now on permanent display at Western Riverside but built there four years before the Titanic was launched.

‘Why is Bath so ashamed of its industrial past,’ he asks.