3D history

State of the art, 3D printing may be brought in to help bring the story of Bath up to date! (The image above – by the way – is a kit you can buy at ALDI!)

A few weeks back l explained that, one of the reasons the city has World Heritage status is its social history.

Its popularity as a spa drew a lot of well-known people during the Georgian and Victorian periods.

Some visited often, some lived here before moving on, and others retired to the city and died here.

One of Bath’s bronze plaques

Other cities – London, Edinburgh and even Bristol – had already decided to erect tablets on houses which had been occupied by well-known people.

Bath’s decision to pick up the idea was spearheaded in 1899 by Thomas Sturge Cotterell – a former mayor and alderman of Bath who also ‘founded’ the Mayor of Bath’s Corps of Honorary Guides!

A keen local historian and city promoter, he persuaded the then Corporation to spend £250 placing 44 bronze tablets ‘on houses once occupied by notable men and women in the 18th and 19th centuries.’

There were two J Woods of course – father and son.

Trouble is – all those years later – you cannot read many of them.

Visitors are often loath to step on someone’s pathway to their front door in an effort to read what it says on the very dull and indiscernible tablet.

Plus many of those honoured mean little to today’s generation.

Like how many know about Marshal Wade? 

Well, it turns out all these points have now been considered by the City of Bath UNESCO World Heritage advisory board and they are looking into how existing plaques might be cleaned and how the tablets could be added to – in a more gender-balanced way – with names that will be known today.

And – as bronze plaques would empty the coffers too quickly – they are open to considering 3D printing – using a resin to mimic bronze.

Here’s their chair, Professor Barry Gilbertson.