Bath Newseum returns – for a second visit – to the rescue archaeology under way beside the River Avon at Broad Quay – an area due to be reshaped for flood alleviation and also opened up for commercial regeneration.
It also happens to be where the ordinary working folk of Bath both lived and earned a wage – an area often prone to flooding and considered a notorious slum district.
Members of Wessex Archaeology have been allowed in to record what is left of that environment before it is all swept away as the riverbank is re-modelled.
This time around there’s a hint that they might still yet find part of the old walled city of Bath’s defences and locate the public bathhouse where people with no washing facilities of their own could clean themselves before going to work in the grand houses on the hill.
There’s evidence now of the riverside homes of some of those factory owners and the sad tale of two local cats who managed to avoid local wells but fell into a lime vat.
Cai Mason is Senior Project Officer for Wessex Archaeology.
I did approach B&NES with the suggestion of holding some sort of public open day on the site but it doesn’t look as if anything is going to happen along those lines.
The archaeologists have little time left now to complete their work before contractors – Alun Griffiths Limited – remove some of Bath’s past to make way for its future.
I will try and make one more visit before the archaeology is completed.
Many of the images used during the interview come from the amazing bathintime.co.uk website