A place in time.

I have often remarked about how sad it is to see the state of the fountain in Laura Place.

The fact that part of its basin was damaged in a road traffic accident has not added to its architectural appeal.

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The original water feature was erected in 1877 to mark the centenary of the Bath and Western Counties Agricultural Society, but this was to a very different design to what we see today.

The whole thing was reconstructed – in a much simpler fashion – in 1977 to mark the bicentenary of the Society.

Previous ideas for that space had included a column to commemorate Nelson and a pillar to mark the passing of the Reform Act.

Loads and loads of postcards have featured this area over the years and l am grateful to my friend Stephen for sending me this one.

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He says:

Sadly the postcard has not been used so I’ve no precise year when the picture on the postcard was taken.

As you will see, there is a taxi rank with five taxi-cabs all waiting for a fare.

Two taxi cabs in the foreground are both of French manufacture – the nearest one is a Panhard and fitted with a metal luggage grid on the roof to take suitcases and hat boxes.

The Panhard is also fitted with acetylene gas headlamps and oil sidelights to give earning capacity in the evening.

Behind the Panhard is a Charron – no headlamps here so obviously not a night bird. Both cars are on their travels – presumably having picked up a fare.

A question. There is a kiosk shown at Laura Place near the fountain – was that the taxi office for the rank opposite?

Just one final observation. You will notice a handcart with a milk churn pon board. Clever milkman – he has left the cart out of the sun to protect his milk!

Based on the vehicles, the picture was taken on or after 1909.”

Thanks for all that Stephen. You are about right with your estimated date. I have seen another of these cards – one in a Bath series of Valentines Postcards – and they date from the 1910s.

That building – by the way – was the taximen’s rest!