Architecturally speaking, Great Pulteney Street is one of Bath’s great set pieces and has to rank among Britain’s finest formal streets.
It’s a great place to explore when the weather is kind but it’s heads down into the wind when you are forced to walk along its 335 metres of pavement during a rain-lashed gale.
Once Pulteney Bridge had been built this grand avenue of palatial terraces was meant to form a processional route into the new Georgian town development of Bathwick. Thomas Baldwin started in 1788 and continued until finances collapsed in 1793.
Short stubby side-streets lead no-where because the money ran out and the vision died.
I thought l had walked up and down this street enough times to take everything in so – imagine my surprise a couple of days ago – when l suddenly realised that the north side – that’s on the left from Laura Fountain looking down towards the Holburne Museum – starts off without the regular front doors you will see throughout the rest of Great Pulteney Street.
I had never noticed that before and am grateful to Michael Forsyth – editor of the Pevsner Architectural Guide to Bath – for explaining this mystery. Seems this first section – called Connaught Mansions – was the Pulteney Hotel – one of Bath’s principal hotels too.
Originally Stead’s Private Hotel from 1866 – at numbers 1 and 2 Great Pulteney Street – it extended progressively into Laura Place and as far as number 7 Great Pulteney Street.
The complex became Admiralty offices from 1942 and was then converted to flats in 1978.
Michael Forsyth says the front doors and entrance bridges were removed by 1914. It’s a shame maybe they could not be put back to return the street to complete harmony!
Also l like the trees that once extended along the whole street. How would people feel about them being put back?