It’s good to be able to cycle along the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath again after grant money has been spent on improving the surface between the George Inn at Bathampton and the first tunnel into Sydney Gardens.
I join this safer route into Bath after turning off the dreadful London Road and across Grosvenor Bridge above the River Avon. Then its just a case of going through a rail tunnel and up the incline.
The only ‘cloud’ in my ‘blue sky’ enjoyment of this countryside trail into the city is the amount of new graffiti l am seeing on the stonework of the rail bridge.
It may be a giggle to defy authority and make your mark in a public space – and the excitement of doing it quickly while while no one is watching – but you are using materials that are difficult to remove and which desecrate something that was part of an engineering miracle – created by the sweat and blood of hundreds of ordinary men.
Elsewhere in the city – according to photographs l have been sent – another despoiler/vandal has daubed a spray paint slogan on a Victorian structure that has only just been restored after a renovation costing millions of pounds.
How ironic is it that they have sprayed the word ‘respect’ too!?
My first instinct is to show you the damage but then isn’t that what these people want? Public indignation fuels the ‘kicks’ they get out of this.
It’s so easy to contaminate someone else’s work in such a crude fashion. There is no talent – no creativity on display – just an idiot’s contempt for something that truly was produced by the mind of someone who had plenty of both.
So, l am not showing the image. At least for now. However, l am asking the people of Bath to consider how best to deal with this – and it is OUR problem. Am l so old-fashioned in attempting to reinvigorate a sense of pride and community?
Yes, there are not enough police and yes more CCTV at certain points might act as a deterrent – but isn’t the most effective way of looking after what we should most value in the hands and eyes of all of us?
Take back Bath, Bathonians. It’s your city. With school holidays now upon us there is an additional risk of more graffiti damage in the city. I am not saying all youngsters are hell-bent on defacing their surroundings but l still remember how ‘peer pressure’ felt.
Of course, there is a bigger issue here. Bath is often referred to as a ‘living museum’ but that doesn’t mean much to youngsters more concerned about flexing growing muscles and wanting to ‘make their mark’ amongst friends and competitors.
Somewhere in all this, young people have to be encouraged to understand how important and valuable the heritage they will one day inherit is. It’s a savings account that mustn’t be whittled away or debased.
Hopefully, some of our young people will go on to be architects, town planners, councillors, engineers, historians, etc and create some new urban history of their own.
Bath should be promoting education and inspiration. It should be encouraging a return to community and friendly neighbourhoods.
There is evidence out there that people do care. Give them the means of taking back their local environment and looking after it.Every local councillor should be out there fostering just such an attitude.
What do others think?