B&NES Graffiti Unit were quick to deal with a significant incident on the Lawn in Queen Square where the historic obelisk had been daubed with a red and black paint stencil.
They were called in by ‘Mr Bennet’ – that’s Martin Salter who is ‘on-duty’ outside the Jane Austen Centre nearby – and dressed as the character from the Pride and Prejudice novel.
Martin told the Virtual Museum – ‘ I reported it to some one l know in the Council and – within an hour – they were out to clean it off.
They have not done a bad job but it is still visible as you go near to it.
Because it said ‘Protest’ on it, l mentioned it to two police officers who walked by, later that afternoon.
Luckily the Council’s graffiti cleaner was still there and the police looked at a photo of the daubing that he had taken.’
Queen Square was laid out by the elder John Wood – as his first major Bath venture – between 1728 and 1736.
The obelisk was set up in 1738 by Neau Nash – in honour of Frederick, Prince of Wales.
Originally it was surrounded by a circular pool and was 70 feet in height. It lost its top in a gale in 1815.
The trees are a more recent addition as the vegetation was originally much lower and consisted of formal espaliered limes and elms.
The stone balustrading around the garden was replaced by railings in 1770. The present set is from 1978.
The whole area has recently had up to £100,000 spent on new walkways and two new entrances.
The work also involved felling an established hornbeam tree.
Ironically, one of the reasons giving for removing it was to open up a site-view to help with security in keeping an eye on the ‘goings-on’ in the garden.
In this instance – thankfully – Martin Salter who seems to be the unofficial ‘policeman’ of Queen Square – was doing just that!
Meanwhile – as January drew to a close – the Queen Square garden is looking a bit sad.
I am sure new grass will be added in the spring but rubbish bins have been moved from their original positions and – as you can see from the photo – maybe two are not enough to serve all the seating in the garden.
Meanwhile B&NES should be doubling its efforts to get a ‘Friends of Queen Square’ group underway so a proper ‘policing’ of these historic gardens can begin.
This is not only part of the city’s heritage but part of its World Heritage look!