Nothing grand about this

Those of you kind enough to follow Bath Newseum on a regular basis will know that l am currently fighting a chest infection which – l must say – has knocked me for six these past couple of weeks.

Having just started a new course of antibiotics – and feeling slightly better – l decided to cycle into town this morning as l had business to attend to.

Must say – in passing Grand Parade – there’s nothing very imposing about it at present.

Where IS the lantern from the balustrade lampost nearest Pulteney Bridge? It’s been missing for ages. Does anyone know if it will be back anytime soon?

Then there’s the pile of give-away Metros dumped on a bench – blowing in the wind.

Further down a depressing sign of changes and cuts to our public bus services – thanks to Covid and lack of government support.

Meanwhile – just around the corner – l see work has finally started on ripping out the old fittings of the former Garfunkels restaurant.

It’s going to be transformed into a pub/restaurant by the Brunning and Price pub group – and it’s due to open this summer with a new name.

Artist’s impression. Taken from Brunning and Price website

Here’s what the Brunning and Price website has to say about the development.

The Architect encompasses part of the ground floor and basement of The Empire Hotel in Bath. This beautiful Grade 2 listed building was designed by the Bath City Architect Major Charles Edward Davis for the hotelier Alfred Holland and built from Bath Stone, on the site of the Athenaeum in 1901.

It was described by Sir Nikolaus Pevsner as a ‘monstrosity and an unbelievable piece of pompous architecture’ – we rather like it and wanted to celebrate the boldness of its design by naming it in Major Charles Edward Davis’ honour – but that would have been rather a mouthful, so we will all know who we mean with a simple ‘the Architect’!

Coming home through Sydney Gardens l must say the old 1920’s Ladies loo is looking superb. IronArt of Larkhall restored the Edwardian Gents on site and it will contain interpretation about the story of public toilets that will be viewed through glass panels in the side.

The ladies was restored ‘off site’ and re-assembled. The building will be used for pre-school-aged children as a nature discovery base.

The expanded new play area appears to have had its landscaping installed and – l am hearing – will be open in time for the Easter holidays.


  1. I agree with Sir Nicholas Pevsner – The Empire is a monstrosity and totally out of keeping with its surroundings and would never have got planning permission these days. Problem is, it’s now on about 500 trillion postcards and photographs, so is now part of the ‘Bath Scene’ worldwide.

  2. Glad to see hear you’re out and about again Richard. If you’re able to venture a little further next time, do visit the Botanical Gardens with their most spectacular display of crocuses drifting across the grass and collecting in wonderfully deep pools of dusky mauve under the still stark winter limbs of magnolias. All tight shut on Sunday – this morning blissfully open in late winter sunshine. A welcome indeed for honey bees and other insects.

  3. To be fair, the change to the U1 bus service isn’t actually a cut- just moving the bus stop yet again. At different times it has been all round the block with the Guildhall in. What was less sensible was only advertising the change via student networks – to the annoyance of University staff.

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