Who put the ‘Great’ in Pulteney Street?

Good morning Bath! Elsewhere on this page l featured a photograph – taken in Laura Place around 1910 – and featuring the taxis that were stationed there at that time.


Stretching away behind the vehicles and the fountain was a tree-lined Great Pulteney Street.

One of the responses to the story came from Bath Newseum follower Sally Helvey who asked when and why the trees were removed from the scene.

Well, Sally has done a bit of digging and has come back with – not only another fantastic postcard photo – but an explanation to the mystery of the disappearing foliage.

She says:

Hi Richard,
I’ve just found out what happened to the trees in Great Pulteney Street…
They were removed by the Bath Corporation in 1920 because they caused too much leaf litter!
Here is a postcard of the Laura Place fountain which must have been taken in the early 1900s (judging by the young man’s attire and the fact that the avenue trees are still there). 
Laura Place in early 1900s before avenue trees felled
I would love to see a fountain like this back again but perhaps not so tall that you can’t see the Holburne easily.
Also, you’ll see the hand-pump for drinking water to be extracted but there is no water falling from the tiers of the fountain so maybe they could switch it off back then too…?
Either way, the one ‘answer’ produces another question……
Now I want to know is who added the “Great” to Pulteney Street…..!!!!
Any ideas?
People were very quick off the mark on this one!

Kirsten Elliott – local author, historian and publisher said:

Dear Richard:

It appears it was always called Great Pulteney Street – the advertisements for builders in 1790 onwards call it that.

Of course, trees were never intended for the street at all. See attached picture.

Minolta DSC

Hope this helps.

I was also interested in the bit about it being Great Pulteney Street – I assume
that as William Johnstone Pulteney saw it as the grand entrance to Bath it
deserved to be called Great. He was not a shrinking violet.

Keep up the good work, Richard. In a mad world, the Bath Newseum is much appreciated.

For what its worth the dictionary says ‘Great’ means ‘impressive or grand; the larger part of a place; of quality or eminence and worthy of notice![‘

Next, it was good to hear from Joy Roberts who is the Chair of the Honorary Corps of Mayors Guides. These ninety-odd volunteers – of which l am one – are ‘laid off’ until this crisis passes. Usually, it’s two free walks a day from Abbey Church Yard – but not for the time being.

Joy says:

Seems like they were always seen as a nuisance….leaf litter and later they were in trouble because they covered cars in leaves.
Joy directed me towards this extract from a book by Mark Johnston called Street Trees in Britain: A History.
Screenshot 2020-04-16 at 13.33.09
I have let the extract run as it goes on to mention the controversial trees in the middle of The Circus.
Screenshot 2020-04-16 at 13.38.04
Screenshot 2020-04-16 at 13.38.16
Thank you Joy!