Getting the public view on the Pulteney Pod.

Time to open a Virtual Museum of Bath debate on what ‘cyber-viewers’ think of the AQ-Y (AquEye) idea of putting a viewing pod beside Pulteney Weir at the end of a crane-like (but slender and contemporary) structure that would lift viewers up into the air and then bring them down again.

The pod has been designed in Bath by award-winning architect Nicholas Stubbs and l am going to quote from the web-site that promotes it.

This is a mock up of how the pod would look if positioned at Pulteney Weir. ©
This is a mock up of how the pod would be positioned at Pulteney Weir. © Click on images to enlarge.

AQ-Y is a revolving glass observation pod suspended between two slim, carbon fibre masts that rises from a horizontal position to a height of 65m, offering 360-degree views over the city’s Georgian rooftops.

Proposed to be built on Pulteney Weir Island, just down from Bath’s famous 18th century Pulteney Bridge, AQ-Y’s contemporary glass capsule will accommodate up to 25 guests embarking from the Parade Gardens.

The capsule will swing out over the river and in just 20 seconds will sweep passengers up above the roof tops to AQ-Y’s full height of 65m, giving guests stunning views over the Georgian city, including Bath Abbey, Pulteney Bridge, the Bath Rugby stadium and the seven hills of Bath.

The full AQ-Y experience will take 20 minutes and could be enjoyed by over 250,000 people a year. Subject to planning permission, AQ-Y will begin operation in Spring / Summer 2017.”

Please take a look at the website yourselves via

Everything of course would depend on two things. Raising the capital to build the structure and getting planning permission to erect it. The project says it’s been welcomed by many in the city – including a wide range of businesses and organisations.

Pulteney Bridge and Weir
Pulteney Bridge and Weir

AQ-Y use their website to explain how they will raise the capital. Again l quote directly as follows:

“Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way of raising finance for new products and projects by asking a large number of people for a small amount of money to help fund and show support for new products and projects. Crowdfunding is also helpful for market validation.”

Hon Alderman David Dixon
Hon Alderman Dave Dixon

My B&NES insider tells me there would not be any official council comment until after a planning application is submitted but entering the fray now is local businessman Dave Dixon.

He is a former B&NES councillor and deputy leader – and recently became one of several former serving members to be awarded Honorary Alderman/woman status for services to Bath.

Here’s Dave’s point of view and l hope to hear what others think too!

I know the project team are keen for as many people as possible to examine their plans and – hopefully – support their aims.They will welcome a debate if it keeps the project in the public eye.  Their ‘crowdfunding’ idea will be launched in a month or so. It is a fair bet they will be looking at alternative sites but will have Pulteney Weir as their main objective.


  1. Innovative, interesting proposal, but entirely the WRONG location. This is a World Heritage City, and whilst we must protect and enhance our setting, rather than preserve in aspic, we do have a heritage to protect…we are but custodians of that heritage. Located on or around the Bath Quays redevelopment, the views from 65m up will be even better, and draw punters to this up-coming area.

  2. There are so many stunning view points across the city such as Alexandra Park or Bath City Farm, or Prior Park Landscape Garden, they show the city in its landscape. The AQY has no place in centre of the city and will be a novelty ride for tourists and have no value for the residents. Whilst I agree the riverside in the city needs enhancing, this is not the right project. The Bath Quay development would be a better location but do we need a new eye sore for the 2020’s.

  3. Reinventing the wheel is not generally regarded as anything other than a pointless activity. The designer of Aqueye claims to have designed for Bath ‘a global first’. I fear not. He has simply reinvented the flip flap, one of the most popular attractions at the White City Franco-British exhibition in 1908. Even the height is the same. You can find more about it here.
    So this isn’t the exciting ground-breaking innovation we were promised – just another fairground ride someone thought of over 100 years ago. I am not opposed to having a fairground ride in the right place–though I am at a loss to understand why Mr Stubbs is so against the idea of the Bath Eye which could easily be built at the next stage of Western Riverside. But it should not be at the expense of a something which is not just one of the country’s most iconic views, but one known around the world.

  4. Jim Warren from Bath Heritage Watchdog asked me to include his comments:

    ‘Taking the information from the publicity material, if the capsule takes up to 25 people and provides a 20-minute ride, then the maximum number of people who could ride is 75 persons an hour.

    If the expectation is that 250,000 people will use it in a year, then simple arithmetic shows that the pod has to operate at full capacity for a minimum of 9 hours and 10 minutes a day for 365 days in a year. In midwinter, we do not get 9 hours of daylight. There will be autumn fogs when there will be very limited views from the capsule. There will, therefore, be times of the day and times of the year when the capsule will be nowhere near full. I don’t think that the figures stand up to scrutiny.

    Then there is the claim that the passengers will get to the full 65-metre height in 20 seconds. The acceleration and deceleration will have to be substantial to average 10 feet per second. Aircraft style Sick bags will need to be available, and I really wouldn’t want to be in the same capsule as someone using one!

    On top of the practicalities, that location puts the capsule in most of the photographs of Pulteney Bridge taken by tourists. Whilst some may want to photograph the capsule, and some may want to photograph the bridge, the two characters make such an anachronistic combination that I can’t imagine many people wanting both in the same shot. Ergo, the pod is in the wrong place, because the bridge was there first.”

    Jim Warren, Bath Heritage Watchdog.

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