Watch it

Images taken from WHSEF website

Regular followers of Bath Newseum will know l take a keen interest in the city’s heritage and history. So l was fascinated to hear about the latest project being carried out by members of Bath’s World Heritage Enhancement Fund and involving a small but very unusual part of the city’s ‘policing history.’

Professor Barry Gilbertson writes:

One of the Fund’s first projects, after its formation in 2010, was the conservation of the Watchman’s Sentry Box, in Norfolk Crescent, at a cost of £7,259 all from the WHSEF funds.

The Property Services department of the Council provided project management on site. The stonework was repaired where necessary by Nimbus Conservation and a new oak-planked door was fabricated, using as much as could be saved of the original ironwork on the previous dilapidated door.

An explanatory plaque was cast byNovacast Ltd of Melksham, which was patinated, lacquered and attached to the door by Laurence Tindall. The star (*) grading of the Box’s Grade II* Listing was included in the artwork for the plaque, but presumably got lost in the sand-casting process. 

As part of our protection and enhancement of heritage in Bath’s Public Realm, our current (2022) maintenance programme for the Box involves the repair of the lower strap-hinge, together with cleaning and painting all the ironwork on the door, then lightly sanding and applying three coats of light oil to the oak of the door. The stonework is still in good condition.

The timing for the maintenance process is from May to the end of July this year. The overall cost will be £678, again all from WHEF funds. You may recall that the Council gives us a grant of just £20,000 each year, and Bath Preservation Trust gives a grant of £5,000 for the wide array of projects undertaken throughout each year.

Wherever we can, we introduce appropriate support funding from other Trusts, Charities or benevolent well-wishers, without all of whom we would only be able to do much less to improve our city’s Public Realm.

Since 2010, we have funded 62 heritage restoration projects, at a total cost of £428,000, excluding any attribution of the value of volunteer time. The list includes annual production of the City Trail and Admiral Nelson Trail pamphlets for several years, each soon available online, and restored more than 60 stone-incised, and other, street signs at first floor level around the city.

I have attached the first in a new series of researched papers about historical artefacts and architectural curios in and around our World Heritage city: The Watchman’s Sentry Box.

We hope readers will enjoy and also learn some new interesting facts they did not know.

Our next research project is already underway, but under-wraps until publication in a couple of month’s time. Watch this space.

Incidentally, we have recently discovered that, since 2021, when we were awarded our second inscription as a leading participant of the 11 towns within The Great Spa Towns of Europe, Bath is now one of only 22 double-inscribed World Heritage Sites out of the current 1,154 sites around the world….that’s something special to shout about in Heritage protection and Tourism circles, and an accolade of which the City, our Council and our residents, can be rightly proud.”

You can view The Watchman’s Sentry Box research paper under the ‘heritage news’ and the ‘Enhancement Fund’ web pages.

under the ‘heritage news’ and the Enhancement Fund’ pages.