Top glass entertainment.

Top glass entertainment.

If you thought yesterday was warm – weather wise – you should have seen the temperature rise where l ended up later on that ‘hint-of-summer-to-come’ day.

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I was a guest of Bath Aqua Glass in Walcot Street – the city’s artisan quarter – where workmen and women have been making things by hand since Roman times.

While Bristol may have its ‘Blue’ glass – this Bath-based company has developed an aquamarine colour – created by adding copper oxide to molten glass – reminiscent – they say – of the Spa waters which make the city so famous.

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A craftsman at work!

Invited guests got a chance to watch those skilled ‘artisans’ at work blowing glass. This company makes everything from corporate giftware to stained glass and jewellery.

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Guests was fascinated. Including Bath’s Deputy Mayor, Cllr June Player.

There are baubles and glass tableware, rings and even a facility to incorporate cremated ashes into glass paperweights or animals.

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There are courses and demonstrations in glassblowing and stained glass making. Even hen parties are welcome – prior to any pub visits of course.

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Some of the guests were lucky enough to have a go at glass blowing.

The Managing Director is Annette Dolan who started the business in 1996. Her husband Adrian is Sales Director and our MC last night – explaining the process while we watched those expert glass blowers in action.

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Sales Director Adrian explains to guests exactly what is happening in this glass blowing process.

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L to R . Bath Aqua Glass Managing Director, Annette Dolan, and Loraine Morgan – Brinkhurst, MBE who owns Morgan – Brinkhurst Consultancy Events.

Now l know where that saying about ‘irons in the fire’ came from and got close enough to the ovens to feel the heat.

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Some of those irons in the fire.

Great to help celebrate one of the city’s successful independents and  one ‘ doing business’ in an historic artisan quarter.

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Hot,hot,hot!

Last night’s events was organised by Morgan – Brinkhurst Consultancy Events. Check out the Bath Aqua Glass website via www.bathaquaglass.com

 

 

Tree felling closes Weston Road.

Tree felling closes Weston Road.

Bath’s Weston Road is to be closed between 9.30am and 3pm for two days next week to enable essential tree felling to take place.

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Public ‘map’ of Botanic Gardens – showing Great Dell at the top.

Checks on two mature Beech trees in the Great Dell in Royal Victoria Park’s Botanical Gardens have found that they are in a poor structural condition and therefore need to be cut down on Monday 3 and Tuesday 4 April. The damaged trees will be replaced.

A crane, located in Weston Road, will be used to assist with the process, meaning the road will be closed. Traffic will be diverted through Royal Victoria Park or Marlborough Lane.

Divisional Director for Environmental Services at Bath & North East Somerset Council, Martin Shields, said: “These trees are very old and in a poor condition structurally so need to be removed from the gardens.

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“We know this road closure will cause some disruption, particularly to those trying to get to and from Weston village, but we have planned it outside of the rush hours at the start and end of each day when traffic levels will be lower. We apologise for any inconvenience this work may cause, but it is essential to ensure the safety of the community.”

Replacements for the two trees will be planted during the next planting season in the Autumn.

Notices will be displayed in the park and Botanical Gardens to inform the public of the work and local councillors, as well as the Friends of the Botanics, will also be informed.

Oh what a Circus!

Oh what a Circus!

It’s NOT an April Fool’s Day joke – hundreds of protestors will be taking to the streets of Bath today – Saturday – on an April 1st march to demand B&NES council leaders meet them over controversial changes in the city.

Bath is bracing itself for its third big protest in as many months, as angry residents  gather in the Circus tomorrow morning for a march down Milsom Street.

The circus

The Circus

They say they are demanding that council leaders attend a public meeting – chaired by an independent moderator – to answer resident’s questions.

The protest, organised by a new umbrella group Bath Deserves Better, which unites several of the leading campaign groups in the city, say they are expecting hundreds to attend.

Protestors, who include arts funding, Bathampton Meadows park and ride and library service campaigners, will be joined by other disaffected groups in the city including the newly-formed campaign against a proposed cable car across Bath.

Opposition councillors from the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Greens are also planning to attend.

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A recent demonstration – outside Bath’s Guildhall – against the possible transfer of the Central Library to the One Stop Shop building in Manvers Street.

Save the Library campaigner, and one of the protest organisers, Dionne Pemberton, said: “We are marching to demand that council leaders stop evading our questions and begin providing honest answers. We want a face-to-face meeting to discuss these controversial and expensive changes that council leaders are pushing through despite huge public opposition. We believe that many of these changes won’t help our city; they will harm it.”

“But instead of engaging with the people who elected them, the leadership of this council tries at every turn to obfuscate and mislead. Their continuing refusal to provide well-thought, well-evidenced arguments for these plans, several of which will change the face of our city forever and put at risk our World Heritage status, leads us sadly to the conclusion that they can’t be justified.”

The group Bath Deserves Better delivered a petition to B&NES council on Monday signed by more than one per cent of the Bath and North East Somerset electorate saying they have no confidence in the current leadership. Under the council’s constitution, this should automatically trigger a debate at full council or the local authority can choose to host a public meeting or an enquiry.

However, campaigners say they’ve been told by the council that the earliest they can meet is July, at a council meeting.

Campaigner Emma Adams, of the Bathampton Meadows Alliance, said: “We are very disappointed by the council’s response, and have written to the council leader Tim Warren asking them to re-think. We need this conversation to happen now.”

“We are tired of being fobbed off at council meetings, where we are restricted to 3 minute speeches and then ignored. We want a proper public meeting, which we will organise, with an independent chair.”

Bath’s ‘new’ MP?

Bath’s ‘new’ MP?

Bath appears to have had a by-election this week? Though the face of this new Member of Parliament looks very familiar.

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The ‘Ben Corlett’ caption.

According to the Bath Chronicle – in carrying a message from the local MP regarding the terror attack at Westminster – Ben Howlett has become ‘Ben Corlett’ in the caption under his smiley face.

Of course it’s the same person, and the carrying of his comments sincerely presented, but whoever does the checking for ‘literals’ has been a bit distracted this week.

On another page – carrying the forced removal of the mural in Walcot Street – the remains – according to the caption – ‘hand in tatters’ – instead of hanging.

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The Walcot Street caption.

You would think l had better things to do. Well at least l am a loyal follower of our local weekly!

Elsewhere,  l did discover that the Rebecca Fountain – erected outside Bath Abbey in 1861 by the city’s Temperance Association – was suffering a blockage.

This biblically-inspired promotion of  ‘Adam’s Ale’ – positioned to challenge all those licensed premises in the High Street that once sold the ‘Devil’s Brew’ – has not been her usual self.

The flow of water from her pitcher not draining through the ‘well’ in its normal fashion – and finding a new route for its gravitational flow.

 

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leased to say that – as of today Friday, March 31st – Rebecca’s watery outpourings are draining away properly. Here’s the evidence.

 

New grant kick-starts work on Roman Bath’s Archway Project.

New grant kick-starts work on Roman Bath’s Archway Project.

The Archway Project at the Roman Baths has received a grant of £250,000 from the Clore Duffield Foundation. This is a major milestone in the £5m Archway Project because there are now enough funds to start work.

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A long section through the Archway Project scheme.

The new Roman Baths learning centre will be called the Clore Learning Centre.

Situated above the former Spa laundry in Swallow Street, the new facilities will increase the space dedicated to education at the Roman Baths by 400%. Two new Clore learning spaces will enable the Roman Baths to develop formal and informal learning programmes, engaging a wide range of communities and audiences.

The Clore Learning Centre will be connected to the Roman Baths by an undercroft that passes through Roman remains beneath York Street. An underground Investigation Zone will provide hands-on access to Roman remains through facilitated learning sessions.

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An artists impression of how the new Archway Project might look.

The new learning centre will give more school children a higher standard of facilities, and enable the Roman Baths to reach out to a wider variety of young people locally and regionally with a range of new learning experiences.

The Roman Baths Foundation is a charitable company set up to raise funds for conservation and education work at the Roman Baths. Raising funds for the Archway Project is its first flagship project.

David Beeton, Chairman of the Roman Baths Foundation, said: “The Foundation is delighted that its efforts to raise funding for a state-of-the-art learning centre for the Roman Baths has been supported so enthusiastically by the Clore Duffield Foundation.”

The Clore Duffield Foundation said: “We are delighted to be supporting a Clore Learning Centre within such an impressive World Heritage Site, and one which offers such outstanding learning opportunities for schools. To have state-of-the-art learning spaces combined with hands-on access to underground Roman remains will create something really special for young visitors, and for learners of all ages. 

The Clore Learning Centre is the largest element in a project that also includes a World Heritage Centre, and access to Roman remains beneath York Street that have never before been on public display 

Fundraising for the Archway Project continues. There are various ways to support the project, including sponsoring a virtual tile and adopting a Roman stone.

www.romanbaths.co.uk/sponsor-tile
www.romanbaths.co.uk/adopt-roman-stone

For more information visit www.romanbaths.co.uk/archway-project

 

The ‘forgotten’ Bath bridge.

The ‘forgotten’ Bath bridge.

Plenty of new tree planting underway down at the newly named ‘Bath Quays’ site where a ‘re-defining’ of the river bank – as part of a scheme to reduce the risk of flooding – has created the opportunity for fashioning a new waterside park-type feature for people to eventually enjoy.

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Newly planted trees on the Broad Quays riverbank.

It follows a lot of archaeology in which the people of Bath were able to be reminded – in reports here on Bath Newseum and at a BRSLI lecture – about the ordinary lives of those former citizens who inhabited this flood-prone area.

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The new loom riverbank involves concrete shapes too.

Both their tenements and places of work were uncovered – along with several pubs and even a laundry/wash-house which substituted for the lack of facilities at home in the slums.

Properly recorded, it has all disappeared.

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In the middle of the picture – to the right of the yellow tripod – you can see the black plastic which covers the remains of that 18th century footbridge.

I say all but, under an anonymous black plastic sheet, lies one reminder of the past. The excavated remains of a stone bridge built to cross a ditch as part of 18th century improvements to an old riverside path.

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One end of the new pathway onto this newly sculptured riverbank has already been built. I hope these young saplings – lying across the tarmac – will still grown once planted?

While landscaping work gathers pace around it there is still no decision on how best to proceed with its preservation and incorporation into this new scheme.

At this rate they will have built the new pedestrian bridge across the river nearby before we discover the long-term fate of this rather smaller old one!

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Looking across the river towards the new concrete flood defence barrier being erected.

Across the river flood defence barriers are also being erected. I look forward to the new trees taking root and to some good news about this little relic of Bath’s humbler past.

 

 

You’ve been framed!

You’ve been framed!

Calling all local artists. Time to consider a submission for the Bath Society of Artists annual exhibition will open at Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Victoria Art Gallery on Saturday 20 May.

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Now in its 112th year, this hugely popular exhibition showcases the best of the region’s artistic talent. Any artist aged 18 or over can submit work for possible selection.

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones, (Conservative, Lansdown) Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “The Bath Society of Artists exhibition is a highlight of Bath’s artistic calendar, showcasing paintings, drawings and sculptures by talented artists from across the region. Admission is free for local residents with a Discovery Card, and visitors can vote for their favourite artwork to win the People’s Choice Prize.”

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Bath’s Victoria Art Gallery.

Susanna Lisle, Chairman of Bath Society of Artists, said: “The Bath Society of Artists Annual Open Exhibition gives an opportunity to artists of all ages and disciplines to show their work alongside members of the Society. We are pleased to say that well over half the work accepted for the exhibition is by non-members, making for a very rich and varied show.

“Each year we invite well-known figures in the contemporary art world to be our judges for the extensive range of prizes. This year our judges are Anthony Hepworth, Mark Surridge and Jo Taylor. We also invite a well-known artist to show with us and this year it will be sculptor Michael Pennie.”

The Society was founded in 1904 with 26 members. It has grown over the years to a membership of about 120 diverse, talented artists. Many distinguished 20th-century painters have exhibited with the Society including Walter Sickert, John Singer Sargent, Philip Wilson Steer, Gilbert Spencer, Patrick Heron, Mary Fedden, William Scott and Howard Hodgkin.

The annual exhibition, which is open to non-members, attracts more than 1,000 entries and 13,000 visitors. All the artworks are for sale, and sales have doubled in recent years 

The prizes on offer total more than £3,000, and include the Bath Society of Artists Prize of £1,000, the Bristol Guild Prize of £250 for a 3-D work, and the Harry Walker RWA Young Artist Prize of £250, awarded to artists aged 18 to 25. There are also smaller prizes for prints, watercolours, small paintings and drawings.

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The Rotunda at the top of the staircase in the Victoria Art Gallery.

During the exhibition, members of the public will be invited to vote for their favourite artwork, with the winner of the Bath Society of Artists Public Choice Prize receiving £500 

To enter, artists must submit their work at the Victoria Art Gallery on Saturday 13 May between 10am and 3.30pm. Exhibits may be paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints or mixed media. Digital prints and collaborative artworks can be submitted. No photography or Giclée reproductions will be accepted.

For more details and an application form visit www.bsartists.co.uk. Application forms are also available from the Gallery.

www.victoriagal.org.uk