Once a ‘Heritage Champion’ always a heritage champion it seems – even though ex councillor and mayor Bryan Chalker no longer holds the B&NES title.
But in this case he’s happy to leave the welfare of the city’s Roman remains and Georgian architecture to others. He wants to speak up for Bath’s industrial past – which isn’t exactly on the everyday list of tourist attractions.
However, if he gets his way, some of our now ‘invisible’ history might be properly – and rightly – promoted.
Bryan, if you may remember, was responsible for persuading Crest Nicholson to include a ‘rescued’ Stothert and Pitt crane on the edge of their impressive Riverside development. It was originally land on which this famous crane-making company was located.
Now he has another industrial bee in his bonnet – as he explained to Bath Newseum.
” I am currently spearheading a project to erect a commemorative plaque to honour the RMS Titanic’s oldest survivor, Edwina ‘Winnie’ Celia Troutt, who was born in Bath in 1884 and died 100 years later.
The plaque, which I have worded and designed, is to be attached to the Apple premises, Southgate, in due course and close to where Edwina once lived.
The Titanic and Bath are inextricably linked through Edwina Troutt, a second Bath-born passenger (who did not survive), Edwin Charles ‘Fred’ Wheeler, and the engineering firm of Stothert & Pitt, which manufactured electric deck-cranes and boiler parts for the great ship and other famed ocean liners of the period, including Lusitania, Mauritania, Aquitania and Olympic.
Sadly, few people have been aware of these vital links to Bath’s rich industrial past, due to the Council’s inability to recognise them.
I first mooted this scheme during my Mayoral year 2011-12, when my theme was ‘Bath’s Industrial Heritage’.
A future project will involve a suitable plaque to be attached to the Grade II Listed Newark Works on the Lower Bristol Road, where Stothert & Pitt were based and where all the aforementioned components were manufactured. The Newark Works dates from 1857 and was designed by another Bathonian, Thomas Fuller.
I am looking to raise around £600, for casting the plaque and attaching to the wall of the Apple store.
If all goes well with this project, I’ll begin another to have a plaque made for the Newark Works on the Lower Bristol Road – Stothert & Pitt’s old HQ.
I am also endeavouring to retrieve the 1857 12-ton model beam-engine (built by an S&P apprentice) from the University and have it placed on permanent display in Southgate.”
This is the final design for the plaque, the idea for which was first mooted during Bryan’s Mayoral year, 2011-12.
It has now been approved by the Southgate management team (Guy Henderson) and will, in due course, be attached to the Apple premises.
Bryan says: ” My next mission is actual funding for the project and I’m looking to raise around £600 for casting and affixing. The American Museum has offered a small contribution and I am hoping that others will quickly follow.”