Free at last!

Let’s start with some good news. Cycling through Sydney Gardens this morning l witnessed the arrival of two B&NES employees ‘armed’ with a metal disc cutter.

Their task – to take off all the so-called ‘love-locks’ from one of the early 19th-century wrought-iron footbridges that cross the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The Pont des Arts in Paris

This ritual of locking in your love by bolting a lock to railings and then throwing away the keys in the water below – brought down huge sections of the fencing across the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris a while back and eventually makes maintaining a crossing near impossible.

The men were a little camera shy but here’s the result of their work with the delicate chinoiserie cast Coalbrookdale crossing free of these unwanted adornments.

The canal bridge free of locks.

Don’t follow the herd folks – support your local florist instead!

I also noticed a first delivery of the metal fencing that is going to be installed above Brunel’s low-level stone balustrade that runs beside the main railway line through the park.

It’s got to go up for safety reasons but – having cleaned off the stone – it’s all going to look quite smart. National rail strikes will no doubt interfere with progress on this.

Into town and a sneak preview inside Bath’s latest food and drink establishment. The Architect spreads out over part of the ground floor and basement of the Empire Hotel.

According to the online blurb:

“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.

Major Davis looks down from a pub wall!

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’!

It is situated on Orange Grove close, overlooking Pulteney Bridge with a small terrace that looks out onto the Abbey.

You will find a bar stocked to the brim with wines, spirits and local ales as you enter through the grand entrance and then a large high-ceilinged room full of booths to nestle into and a mixture of sized tables for large or intimate visits.

There is also a more private table if you’d like a special occasion away from the hubbub.”

First impressions? It certainly has the ‘wow-factor’ and has obviously seen a fair outlay of money to achieve a look as grand as the building itself!

It opens officially at 5pm on Thursday, June 23rd.