When plastic is not fantastic.

When plastic is not fantastic.

A Friday ride through Bath lifted my spirits. First because it is not so cold, and even spring-like, during the brief periods when the sun broke through the gloom.


B&NES Graffiti Unit in action! The leaves are gathered to soak up the cleaning fluids and stop them running into the canal.

Pleased also to see the B&NES Graffiti Unit in action – helping the Canals and River Trust deal with a recent bad attack of vandalism along a stretch of  one of the city’s historic waterways.


Looks good but it’s only plastic.

With bulbs starting to sprout greenery above ground level thoughts turn to brighter days in a city famous for its floral displays.


Bath in plastic bloom.

Seemed a shame to pass one established restaurant that prefers to decorate the front of its business with vegetation of the plastic variety. Doesn’t cost much to invest in spring bulbs but hey – who am l to say.


Getting those advertising boards off the floor.

After all the fuss about A boards encroaching across pedestrianised Union Street l had to smile at the sight of a man holding an advertising board high in the air. It’s not blocking the pavement of course.


Cluster of signs at the Union Street end of The Corridor

Though l have to say there’s a bit of A-board pressure developing at the Union Street end of The Corridor and l am not sure attaching posters to Grade 2 listed columns is such a good idea either.

Bath BID were going to experiment with some sort of post bearing the names of multi-business in the vicinity. Wonder what has happened to that?


Empty shops in New Bond Street.

Mixed in with the high spirits – a bit of a low. The number of properties now empty along New Bond Street – and with others due to go.

Finally back onto the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath out of Bath and some new signage has appeared – reminding all two-wheeled users to be aware of who has priority.


The new ‘Pedestrian Priority’ signs that have gone up along the towpath.

As a cyclist myself – though not one of those sleek lycra types – can l just point out that l sometimes have to brake when deciding which side of a speeding dog l am going to try and get past.


Another sign showing people have priority over bikes!

Many dog owners are great with controlling their pets. It’s just the occasional animal – off on an adventure while the owner is elsewhere – and often on a mobile phone – that increases stress.

Respect all round l say in using one of the safest, carbon-monoxide-free routes into the city we all love.

From Rome to the Royal Crescent.

From Rome to the Royal Crescent.

Models of classical buildings tell the story of architecture from Rome to the Royal Crescent in Bath

From Rome to the Royal Crescent launches a special year for Bath, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the Royal Crescent.  It is an exhibition at No. 1 Royal Crescent, tracing the evolution of classical architecture from the ancient monuments of Rome, through the innovation of the Renaissance to the modern designs of 18th century Britain through the beautiful work of Bath-based model maker Timothy Richards.


Royal Crescent – view of a model made by Bath-based model maker Timothy Richards.

His intricate models include a perfect replica of the Royal Crescent itself reflecting its monumental proportions and classical façade.

When the foundation stone was laid for the Royal Crescent in May 1767 British architecture was dominated by a passion for Palladianism.  A fashionable style for both grand country houses and city structures, 18th century Palladianism was inspired by the buildings of ancient Greece and Rome as interpreted by Renaissance architects such as Andrea Palladio, the Italian stone mason from Vicenza who became the most influential architect in the Western world. Through highly detailed models of some of the key buildings in this story of stylistic development, this exhibition will reveal why the iconic Royal Crescent looks the way it does.


Queens House, Greenwich – another perfect replica by Timothy Richards.

Timothy Richards says:

Children love models and react in a fundamental way. They, like us, are delighted by beauty and this exhibition is about beauty. The unique plaster models tell a simple story well, giving not only an understanding of a journey but also revealing the art of great architecture and our abiding love affair and debt to Italy and Rome.”

Great models combine not only passion and understanding but also something of the real building; an art form in their own right.’  

Based in Bath, Timothy Richards specialises in telling the story of architecture through model making and has spent over 25 years refining his craft. The workshop has completed over 150 projects for both private and public commissioners.

In 2013, Richards won the Arthur Ross Award, the US Institute of Classical Architecture and Art prize for artisanship in the classical tradition.

Find out more about the skills and processes behind the extraordinary work of Tim and his team of craftsmen at www.timothyrichardscommissions.com or visit this unique workshop.


The Pantheon in Rome – as modelled by Timothy Richards.



Exhibition: From Rome to the Royal Crescent

Dates: 11 February until 4 June 2017

Location: No. 1 Royal Crescent, Bath, BA1 2LR

Free with admission to the museum: Adult £10; Child £4; Family £22



An aerial view of Bath featuring the Royal Crescent and Circus.

Be Social: #RoyalCrescent250 @No1Museum

#RoyalCrescent250 celebratory events continue all year, with further exhibitions, debates, community events, guided walks and artworks exploring the enduring power of a single building. Primarily focused in and around Bath Preservation Trust’s three city-centre museums, there are also activities in partnerships with Bath Festivals, RIBA South West and The Natural Theatre Company.

Learning to look back.

Learning to look back.

Who do you think you are? Trace your ancestors on a family history course at Bath Record Office.

Bath Record Office

Bath Record Office at the Guildhall.

There are often surprises on the BBC’s popular family history programme, Who Do You Think You Are? In the most recent series, EastEnders actor Danny Dyer discovered he had royal blood, while TV’s Amanda Holden found French ancestors in Bordeaux’s vineyards. In a previous series, actor Sir Tony Robinson even traced his roots to Bath.

Now you have a chance to find out about your own ancestors. Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Bath Record Office is running family history courses to help you, whether you are just starting out on your research or have reached a more advanced stage. 

Councillor Patrick Anketell-Jones (Conservative, Lansdown), Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “These courses are always very popular with local residents keen to trace their ancestors and find out more about the area’s history, so I’d recommend booking a place as early as possible.”

Family history for beginners

Who is the course for?

Anyone who wants to start tracing their family tree

People who have started to trace their family tree, maybe using online resources, but are unsure of the best way to proceed

What will the course cover?

Basic approaches to tracing a family tree

Basic sources: certificates of birth, marriage and death, census returns and parish registers. What they tell us, how to use them, and how to find them

General troubleshooting of particular family history problems encountered by course participants. This may take place during the group session, or in a one-to-one sessions at the end.

bath record office
Advanced family history – understanding archives

Who is the course for?

Anyone who has traced their family tree using basic sources such as certificates of birth, marriage and death, census returns and parish registers, and now wants to go further.

What will the course cover?

Archives in general, what they are and how they are catalogued. This is to help family historians use online archive catalogues, and to find archives that might not have online catalogues at all

Case studies showing how things that happened to individuals in the past have left a ‘paper trail’ – and how to follow this paper trail to find out more about the individual

Finally, it will briefly cover specific sources for a small number of topics. As far as possible, these topics will be focussed on the interests of the course participants, although we cannot guarantee to cover all areas of interest.

There will be an opportunity to discuss particular family history research queries either as part of the group session or in one-to-one sessions at the end of the day.


All the courses take place at the Guildhall, High Street, Bath


Friday 3 March                                 Advanced course

Wednesday 15 March                     Beginners course

Wednesday 17 May                         Beginners course

Wednesday 21 June                       Advanced course

How much?

Beginners course    £20

Advanced course     £25

Lunch and mid-morning refreshments are provided and included in the price.

How can I book?

Telephone the Bath Record Office on 01225 477421 or email archives@bathnes.gov.uk 


More tales from the river bank.

More tales from the river bank.

A packed public meeting at the BRSLI in Queen Square this week to hear Cai Mason of Wessex Archaeology talk about discoveries made during rescue work along the north bank of the River Avon near Churchill Bridge.


More than 130 people turned up for the lecture at the BRSLI in Queen Square. One of the biggest gatherings recorded.

It’s where contractors will be doing some re-shaping at the river edge as part of a flood alleviation scheme in this quarter of the city – earmarked for business and residential redevelopment.


The re-shaped bank will be set out as a park area but, in recent months, archaeologists have been uncovering the evidence of those who worked and lived by the river.


Cai Mason who led the dig.

Archaeologists uncovered and recorded the remains of  a parchment-making factory, foundry, public baths and laundry, tenement houses,  a pub and a cobbled slipway to the river.


How the river bank will look.

A careful study of maps – ancient and modern – helped them to know what to expect as the earth was removed.

This was an area – prone to flooding – which developed a bad reputation for slum dwellings and prostitution.


Cai Stands in the Bath House. This would have been a section of screened cubicles where people did their laundry and would have paid for hot river water by the bucketful.

But it was an area in which the ordinary people of Bath struggled to making a living and bring up families.

Bath Newseum was given access to the dig as it progressed. In fact, our first interview with Cai attracted five thousand hits in one day.

Though all has been recorded the remains have had to make way for the re-shaping of the bank.

All that is bar one special little piece of the past. A small stone bridge built to cross a ditch as part of improvements to an old riverside path.


The little 18th century stone bridge as excavated.

It’s hoped that it can be incorporated into the re-defined layout as a memorial to this previously unrecorded piece of Bath’s history.

Various artefacts – found during the archaeological work – are currently on display at the BRSLI in Queen Square and it’s free to go in and have a look.


They should be there for at least another week before Wessex Archaeology decide what to do with them.


Here’s a selection:





Park & Ride East to go ahead.

Park & Ride East to go ahead.

So now we know. B&NE’s inner Cabinet have selected their chosen location for an east of Bath Park & Ride on site B  – that’s if they are able to actually buy the land west of Mill Lane. They say they’re going for a smaller scheme than originally intended.


The Cabinet plump for Site B.

If there is no deal on land purchase, they will revert to a plot on the other side of the road.

It’s a decision they took at a Guildhall meeting which brought hundreds of very vocal demonstrators to the street outside.

People who did not want to see any encroachment onto Bathampton meadows.


Demonstrators outside Bath’s Guildhall.

It remains to be seen if those who oppose the siting of the scheme will continue to find ways to delay or change this decision – but they have made it very clear that the battle to stop the park and ride is not over yet.

A press statement from the Council reads as follows:

‘A new Park & Ride to the east of Bath is a key part of the Council’s wider plan to improve local transport, tackle congestion and support the continued growth of the city and local economy. This includes a package of transport measures such as improvements to the road network, cycle-ways and public transport.

The Council took the decision in November 2015 to move forward with plans for a Park and Ride to the east of the city following more than ten years of studies, reports and consultations on the issue.

Every day more than 73,000 people travel into Bath by car* – a figure which is predicted to rise to 96,000 people a day by 2029. This is alongside growth of around 7,000 new homes and 11,000 new jobs in the city by 2035 which, with the new Bath Enterprise Zone, is expected to grow the local economy by £1.2bn by 2030.

Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip), Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Over the past year, the Council has undertaken an exhaustive process looking at all the potential locations for the long-discussed eastern Park & Ride. The conclusions of this analysis were that both sites B and F are suitable to meet the established needs for an east of Bath Park & Ride.

However, after careful consideration, the Cabinet has decided to select site B as our preferred location because it offers the greatest potential for a future link to the local railway line and is less visible to those living closest. It is near to the city and well-located for cars coming from the A4, A46 and A363.


Possible lay out for Site B


The view from Bathampton Down – after one year – if Site B is chosen. Council illustration.

“However, whilst site B is our preferred location, its use is subject to the purchase of the land and securing agreement from Highways England over access from the bypass. As site F would also offer a suitable alternative, if these outstanding matters cannot be agreed the Cabinet has agreed to revert to site F, which is within the Council’s ownership.”

Explaining the decision to move forward with plans for the Park and Ride, Councillor Warren added: “Bath will continue to see significant growth over the coming years, with thousands of new homes and jobs being created at major regeneration sites in the city. We therefore need to plan now for how to manage the additional demand this will put on our road network, and a new Park & Ride forms an important part of our wider plan to improve transport, tackle congestion and support the growth of our economy.  All our studies show that without a new Park & Ride, traffic will be worse in the years ahead.


The view from Bathampton Down – after fifteen years – if Site B is chosen. Council illustration.

“However, whilst we must plan for the future, we also understand the concerns raised by residents in the local area and have taken these on board in reaching our decision. We are proposing to build a smaller site than originally planned, with extensive screening. This will be coupled with improved signage to encourage greater use of Lansdown Park & Ride by those arriving from the north.”

Why site B:

Site B with 800 spaces is located within close proximity to the city

Site B would attract users from the A4, A46 and A363

Site B is outside the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and not within the floodplain

Site B has the potential for a rail link in the future

Those living closest to site B have the least view of it

Improving transport and planning for the future

Councillor Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The east of Bath is the most congested part of our road network, and is the only side of the city which does not currently benefit from a Park & Ride. Without intervention, including a Park & Ride, this will only get worse as the city continues to grow with more jobs and housing.

“Our current three Park & Rides are used by more than two million passengers a year, a figure which has grown by sixteen per cent since 2009, and their usage will continue to grow as more and more people travel into Bath to work and visit.

“The need for an eastern Park & Ride is therefore well-established, and has the support of local business organisations, residents associations and transport lobby groups.

“Building the long-discussed eastern Park & Ride is therefore an important part of our wider plan to keep Bath moving, which also includes greater provision for cycling and walking, better rail services through the MetroWest project, and bringing forward plans for an A36-A46 link road to reduce through-traffic in Bath.”

Next steps

Members of the public will have the opportunity to continue to put forward their views as part of the formal planning process.

Councillor Clarke said: “The next steps for the Council will now be to progress discussions over the land and highway access, with further work on the design, screening and mitigations as part of preparations for a full planning application.”

More information is available via the Council’s website at: www.bathnes.gov.uk/East-of-Bath-Park-and-Ride.

For details of the Cabinet papers, please visit: https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=4962

*Traffic count in accordance with Department for Transport guidelines. Figure includes people who have destinations within Bath and excludes those travelling through Bath.

Key statistics

73,000 people travel into Bath daily. This is expected to grow to 96,000 by 2029.

The economy is expected to grow by £1.2bn by 2030.

11,000 new homes and 7,000 new jobs by 2035.

Existing Park & Ride sites carry more than two million passengers a year and have grown by 16% since 2009.

They are expected to continue to grow to capacity over the coming years.

A new Park & Ride to the east of the city will reduce traffic movements by around 2,000 cars in each direction daily.


‘After the ball is over’. The demonstrators have gone – but left their placards behind them.


Have your say on cycling.

Have your say on cycling.


Sustrans are working with Bath and North East Somerset Council as part of the Cycling Ambitions Fund 2 (CAF) to consider how walking and cycling in several areas throughout Bath could be improved. We will be engaging directly with local communities in order to understand the needs and aspirations of those living and working within the project areas.

As part of this process, Sustrans and BANES will be holding a number on-street events and running an online interactive map, giving people the opportunity to tell them what is currently stopping them from walking and cycling and which routes they use at the moment.

We would value your input into this process so please do come along to the events or log onto the online mapping tool and record your views.

IF YOU CANNOT MAKE THE EVENTS PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE FEEDBACK THROUGH THE ONLINE FORMS: http://www.sustrans.org.uk/bearflat & http://www.sustrans.org.uk/londonroad

Bearflat event is this Thursday the 26th of January: bear-flat-event(pdf)


London Road event is 31st of January:london-road-event(pdf)


Making a stand.

Making a stand.

As a cyclist who sometimes has to look around a bit to find  a vacant stand for my bike – l am not too sure l welcome the outbreak of two-wheeled advertising that is becoming apparent in Bath.


Bike ads?

Seems they are not only promoting local business but making political points.

Clever promotion? Or a damned nuisance if the stands are full up?


A campaign cycle?

What do you think?