Many of Bath’s museums and heritage interests took part in an open air celebration of World Heritage Day in the city’s Parade Gardens – alongside the River Avon and just below Pulteney Weir.
It was a fitting location. as this year’s celebratory theme was ‘Waters of Bath’ and activities focused on the past, present and future use and significance of Bath’s hot springs, river and canal network.
This year has special importance for Bath as the city celebrates 30 years of being a World Heritage Site.
For the first time, there was a programme of short talks in a specially erected marquee. Local experts explored different aspects of the water theme, including the medicinal use of spa water, the importance of the waterways in the Georgian development of the city, Bath’s cold water springs and minor spas, the use of thermal water to heat the Abbey, and the history of Bath’s river crossings.
Amongst exhibitors was Robert Delius – a local architect with Stride Treglown – who is campaigning for more street-based water features to celebrate the city’s debt to its springs and river.
He had put together a 42 page report – entitled ‘The Waters of Bath” – to circulate amongst interested parties and , in catching up with him today (Sunday, April 23rd) it seems there have been some encouraging developments.
There was also plenty to keep younger visitors busy in the Parade Gardens – including a cardboard model of the Pulteney Bridge for them to complete by adding windows.
Plus guided tours offered by the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides, a walk to the Cleveland Pools and even a two hour National Trust trek to the Bath Skyline.
Even more exhibits underneath part of the Colonnades – a derelict area which may come back to life. That’s if plans to attract restaurants and extend the Victoria Gallery come to fruition.
The city’s Record Office – currently closed (until June 5th} for redecoration and incorporation of the Local Studies Reference Collection from Bath Central Library – chose various stories from the archive collection to do with the river and local springs for their display.
Colin Johnston – who is is the Principal Archivist – told me they had deliberately chosen their niche in the Colonnades because it features in two old photographs in their collection.
Photographs showing it as a special water-based destination – as Colin explained.