Sadness in the sunshine.

It was wonderful to come into Bath on such a glorious day and enjoy seeing people out and about again.


However, it was sad to walk through Milsom Street and see how the pandemic – and other ecnomic factors – has affected some of our retail outlets.




Many have said the ‘High Street’ is having to re-invent itself – as consumer’s look elsewhere to spend their money – but COVID 19 has helped force closures and persuaded other companies to move towards on-line business for more promising future expansion.

Have we changed our shopping habits for good?





  1. .
    It”s harsh, but seeing a homeless person’s gear in one doorway reminds me how some of these shops could be made into very cheap flats for a person or couple. If more mixed use, and a real affordable price, not the fake ones, could be done, it could bring more life and character into these streets.

    At the same time, let’s make modular pods for both the homeless, which they do somewhere in the UK and in a few US States.

    So much new thinking could be allowed by people who can execute them. Very tough times ahead but the right lateral thinking could actually ensure we do have a better society than the one before.

    Fingers crossed.


  2. Rachel Russell writes:

    ‘I’d just like to point out that some of the shops pictured in your ‘Sadness in the sunshine’ article did not close as a result of COVID 19.

    Several of the shops pictured had closed prior to the pandemic…largely due to exorbitant rents!
    Gap Kids is closing as they are at the end of a 30-year lease and reported that the building above the shop is in such a poor state of repair that plans not to renew were already in place pre- lockdown.

    It looks like the city’s landlords are not doing the High Street any favours!!!

    Perhaps a substantial decrease in rental fees and short leases might encourage traders to ‘give it a go’ and rejuvenate the centre of Bath?

    I know it has been said before..but surely some income is better than none for landlords in these tough times?

    With the holiday on business rates…it may present opportunities for smaller businesses and maybe some new ventures that have risen out of the to speak!’

  3. With so little to go to Milsom Street for, it seems pointless to close it to Traffic for social distancing. Suspect its actually keeping people away!

  4. .
    Thanks Richard, good reminder from Rachel Russell!

    Yes, super high rents coupled with rates and a mind-bloggling VAT rate (showing my age here ) cripples most retail outlets that don’t have a big chain behind them to absorb wobbly profit issues now and then.

    To help rejuvenate maybe the landlords and authorities have to make things super cheap to encourage confidence and increased sales, especially as Christmas is around the corner. As a former shop manager (gifts, stationery, cards etc…) we would have ordered Christmas stock, at least cards, back in April.

    I’ve been in different rental situations so like Rachel Russell I don’t fully understand empty shops now. Back when the economy was really good, way back in the 1980s, London property owners could borrow a lot against local property they owned in Bristol and Bath. Surely that’s not the case as non-londoners must be wary of entering the big city now?

    If money keeps moving around ordinary shops, cafes, bars, pubs, etc… it will help everyone, or at least ordinary folk and those not wanting to be the next billionaire.

    re Lyn, thanks!

    Yes, the problem is no car traffic (taxis, buses, privately owned cars) will have an effect if there isn’t numerous car parks, much much more than currently. There needs to be a carrot, carrot, carrot approach, without a stick in sight. Perhaps even a radical single lane whether single direction only or effectively timed traffic lights?

    All good points, now if only as a humble artist nowadays, I had the power to implement these great comments with their suggestions. Anyone out there who can and will?

    warm regards,

  5. The elephant in the room (or the street) is the Internet. We’re never going back to this (probably mythical) golden age. But maybe Bath has too many shops, anyway. Certainly many more than previously. Just compare the new and old Southgate, for example. Maybe we should be counting open shops rather than focusing on the closed ones. (And, incidentally, does anyone really think Southgate would be better if it had cars driving through it?)

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