Stephen Pickles. Where are you?

I carried the story below three years ago and have had a reply from a lady called AlisonMildon who has some information for you Stephen. If you still follow the re-named Bath Newseum. Please make contact.

“Can anyone help Stephen Pickles who has contacted the Virtual Museum for help?

” I found your post while trying to find out more about the building that was known as the Pulteney Hotel during the 1840s.

great pulteney streetAn advertisement in the Monmouthshire Merlin on 13 Dec 1845 described it thus: “Pulteney Hotel & Boarding House, Sydney Gardens, Bath. Conducted by Barnard L. Watson [Late Superintendant of the Telegraph]. This Establishment is replete with every convenience, and is delightfully situated at the end of Great Pulteney-street, Bath”.

Two years later, Barnard Lindsay Watson went bankrupt, for the third time. In his earlier career, he had established the Liverpool-Holyhead optical telegraph, the first in the world to carry commercial and private correspondence.

I have found some hints suggesting that this Pulteney Hotel may have been the building that it is now the Holburne Museum (but I am not convinced), and that the building which is now the Connaught Mansions did not acquire the name Pulteney Hotel until much later than the 1840s. Any light that you can shed on the matter would be much appreciated.”

In the meantime, says Stephen : ” I have unearthed various contemporary newspaper articles that make me all but certain that the Holburne Museum and the building known as Pulteney Hotel, Sydney Gardens during the 1840s are one and the same. I am pleased to say that the Holburne Museum now agree with me.

The enterprise run by Barnard Lindsay Watson during the 1840s was sometimes referred to in contemporary newspapers as the “Pulteney Hotel and Sydney Gardens”. It was leased to his father-in-law Dr Charles Warner and then operated as a hotel by Lieutenant Watson until he went Bankrupt in 1848. Another gentleman tried to operate the hotel after him, but also went bankrupt.

I attach a few clippings from the Bath Chronicle (there are many more – the Pulteney Hotel was a high-status building frequented by the gentry and aristocracy), and an 1845 advertisement in the Monmouthshire Merlin (Watson advertised widely). The description of the items for sale in the 1848 auction is especially convincing, as it is clear that the effects of both the hotel and Sydney Gardens itself were included. Can there be any other high-status building located in Sydney Gardens at the end of Great Pulteney Street at the time, being leased along with Sydney Gardens, that fits the description?

What clinches it for me is the visit of the future Napoleon III, which is mentioned in Historic England’s listing for the Holburne Museum: says in the Q and A section:
According to Michael Forsyth’s “Bath” (Pevsner Architectural Guides, Yale University Press, 2003), p182:
“Napoleon III stayed for six weeks in 1846 at the Sydney Hotel, now the Holburne Museum, and after 1871 often at No. 55.”

Contemporary newspapers mention the visit of Prince Napoleon Louis Bonaparte to Bath, where he was reported as staying at the Pulteney Hotel, Sydney Gardens for six weeks in 1846. I attach three of many such contemporary clippings referring to the Prince’s visit, one from the London Evening Standard, one from the Bristol Times, and one from the Hereford Journal.”