It’s great that Bath has hot springs, Roman remains and Georgian architecture to bolster its prestige and provide a tourist income but – as our visitors flock into this World Heritage city to admire our heritage and fill our museums – l often think the ordinary people – who actually live and work in this jewel box of social history – are somewhat overlooked.
Industrial heritage isn’t maybe something many would associate with Bath today but once upon a time – and bearing in mind that before better roads and the arrival of a canal and railway the city wasn’t well-connected – this was a place that had to be pretty self-sufficient.
The Museum of Bath at Work is celebrating its 40th birthday. It occupies a former Royal Tennis Court built in 1777 and – for those prepared to make the extra effort to go up a block from the Assembly Rooms – it will show you how Bath used to earn its living and provide for the everyday needs of its inhabitants.
Step through a Victorian engineering workshop, soft drink factory, stone mine and rest your arms on the counter of an Edwardian ironmongers. There’s a locally made car, Bath chair and all you need to know about trams, trains and Stothert and Pitt.
Now comes the really exciting bit. Curator, Stuart Burroughs has told Bath Newseum that – for the future – the museum wants help from local people to determine the content of its exhibitions.
Bath at Work wants to reflect the last forty years of commercial change in the city and engage local working people who may have photographs, artifacts and memories to contribute. It wants to move on to show how we live today.
Do enjoy this chat with Stuart Burroughs and do consider how you might be able to help.