Spend lunchtime with history

Leading experts will deliver a series of free lunchtime talks throughout October organised by Bath & North East Somerset Council on three of the leading history makers connected with the city of Bath.

The Bath Guildhall
The Bath Guildhall

The talks will coincide with the current street exhibition: History Makers of Bath.

All sessions will be held at the Guildhall, from 1.10pm to 1.45pm, and will feature three key figures in the city’s history from the 18th century to the 20th century: George Stothert (8 October), Sidney Horstmann (15 October) and Ralph Allen (22 October).

George Stothert, Sidney Horstmann and Ralph Allen are familiar names to many people in Bath, but why? The answer is they were all significant and innovative entrepreneurs of their times.

Stuart Burroughs, the Curator of the Museum of Bath at Work, will lead talks on George Stothert and Sidney Horstmann, while Dr Amy Frost, the Architectural Curator at the Bath Preservation Trust, will deliver a talk on Ralph Allen.

The outdoor exhibition board featuring Sidney Horstman.
The outdoor exhibition board featuring Sidney Horstman.
history makers of bath
George Stothert’s board on display at Kingston Parade.

Councillor Ben Stevens (Lib-Dem, Widcombe), the Council’s Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development, said: “Shining the spotlight again on these history makers will allow residents of modern Bath to appreciate the contributions these figures made to the city we know today.

“All of the lunchtime talks will take place at the Guildhall in the centre of Bath and will therefore fit in easily with trips to other sites of historical and cultural interest in the city. Booking in advance is not required.”

George Stothert co-founded the engineering company Stothert and Pitt in 1785. He was a pioneer in his field, building his business from an ironmongery company to an engineering firm producing goods ranging from household cast iron items to dock cranes.

Sidney Horstmann was a 20th century automotive engineer and businessman; he developed a coil spring suspension system, called the Horstmann bogie, which was used in many Western combative tanks. His suspension bogie system is still used in vehicles and his car manufacturing company is highly regarded to this day.

Ralph Allen’s spirit lives on in the school named after him in commemoration of his contribution to 18th century Bath. A man with an eye for an opportunity, he reformed the British postal system, making it both more efficient and profitable.

In a second career, he acquired the stone quarries at Combe Down and Bathampton. The Bath Stone used in building the Georgian city we know today made his second fortune, enabling him to construct the Palladian mansion at Prior Park which is now home to the Prior Park School. Ralph Allen is still known for his philanthropy.