I am hoping Virtual Museum followers right be able to help me with this one. Someone asked me if l knew whose initials were intertwined at one end of the pointer at the top of a weathervane which sits at the Grand Parade end of the Pulteney Bridge.
Built to Robert Adam’s design in the early 1770’s to link the Bathwick estate to the city – and open up it’s development – the bridge did not have such an ornament in place at the time the first citizens crowded upon it to visit its shops and admire the view.
A bit of research seems to point – if you’ll excuse the pun – to it being erected in the mid to late 1970’s. In the centre of the structure in a stone plaque which gives a brief list of repairs and restorations since the bridge was built.
Most importantly it says that in 1975 – European Architectural Year – the downstream elevation of the bridge was restored and the shop facades were repaired and partly restored. The architect responsible was given as John Vivian.
Pulteney Bridge is of course one of only four bridges in the world with shops on either side of its deck.
The 1975 restoration work was done by the Georgian Group in association with the Colby Trust and Bath City Council – and with a substantial grant from Her Majesty’s Government. No Heritage Lottery Fund in those days!
I have contacted the Georgian Group in London and spoken to their archivist – Robert Bargery – who told me:
‘Based on the illustration you sent me the GG could well stand for Georgian Group – and probably does if we were funders – although the reversed interlocking GG has never to my knowledge been a logo of ours.
I’m afraid there is nothing we have been able to find on file that relates to this.’
I thought l would have a word with Dr Amy Frost from Bath Preservation Trust and thank her for making a search for me. She told me:
‘Just had a rummage through our archives and looking at the images of the bridge it does appear that the weather vane was added following the 1975 restoration.
Although it is not actually referred to in any of the documents from Vivian about the work, which includes a summary schedule of works. So purely from visual evidence really.’
It is a fairly long time ago now but l wonder if anyone reading this can tell us anything more about the weathervane. Would be great to hear from you.