Hey Bath! – love you.

Winter Solstice – December 21st – seems a good place to reflect on what is past and what is to come.

Bath Newseum has never set out to rival the local newspapers – and ad mags – but to offer a take on what affects us all, living in and around a heritage city steeped in history.

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I (there is only me on the staff) don’t do crime or sport – unless it impacts on the fabric of the city – but this website does wander in and around art and history, archaeology and urban space – our geography, architecture and ever-changing (and often-threatened) environment.

It’s amazing what one man on a bike can pick up around this place.

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I am sorry if much of the year has been full of its share of negatives, but there have also been a fair number of positives too. The ups and downs of live – wherever you live – l am sure.

Thanks to the labours of many local people – and with the aid of Lottery money – work is underway on the floor and facilities of Bath Abbey and we will be hearing the name of the contractors chosen to extend the Roman Bath’s facilities in the New Year.

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There was good news for Cleveland Pools and Sydney Gardens – in terms of their rescue from dereliction.  Recent vandalism, in the gardens, has highlighted the negatives of an unprotected site where council cuts have taken away the park keeper.

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The lack of money – the fact that so much of every ratepayer’s pound has to go on child and adult care – brought an end to the East of Bath park and ride proposal and the incorporation of the One Stop Shop into the Central Library.

Other grand schemes – such as getting commercial interest in re-opening the Colonnades by Pulteney Weir – have come to nothing.

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The view from the Colonnades

Brexit hangs heavy over our heads. I am a journalist who doesn’t need to sit on the fence anymore as no one now pays me a wage.

It’s well known how l fear for our country’s future and also my sadness at how our young are being robbed of their rightful place within the nations of Europe. How much blood was shared to bring peace to this union of peoples.

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Some of the candidates who will be fighting for seats in the May election.

Locally, we have May elections to look forward to. It could be the first way ‘the resistance’ strikes back but we will have to wait to see what impact the new Bath Independent Group – BIG – has on the outcome.

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Proposed view of modified stadium.

Meanwhile, plans for a transformed Bath Rugby stadium will rumble on – with much debate l am sure. Plus – we have the delayed action – required by law – to introduce a Clean Air Zone – and the closure of the historic Mineral Water Hospital when its services move to a new unit being built at the RUH.

The MIneral Water Hospital in Bath
The MIneral Water Hospital in Bath

Will Bath be brave enough to extend it to the real ‘gates’ of the city and also lead the way in introducing a tourist tax to benefit from the hundreds of thousands who stay here?

Bath Newseum has been blessed by a growing band of loyal followers and excited by your continual comments on stories covered. Please continue to tell your friends about this ad-free take on a city which l am sure we are all proud to be associated with. Your contributions are always welcomed.

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May l wish you a very Happy Christmas and health and good fortune in the New Year. My thoughts are with you in terms of loss too. My partner experiences his first Christmas without his mother. Something me and my sisters faced last year.

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Spare a thought also for those who are alone at this time and maybe turn those thoughts into an action – however little.