A French bench
I am always grateful to get a response to items published here at Bath Newseum, but it’s an extra bonus when someone reacts to the monthly column l write for The Bath Magazine.
Currently – in the August edition – I was arguing for the appointment of a ‘Heritage Tsar’ – an independent individual to guard our assets!
“One of the biggest bees under my bonnet is the fact that the city’s historical fabric – its architecture and urban/rural setting – is not guarded by someone who is aware of the sensitivity of Bath’s World Heritage status and how best to utilise and enhance that in terms of tourism.
Someone who would keep an eye on all things affecting our heritage assets.“
My thoughts on the subject brought a response from a Bathonian who – while they would rather remain anonymous – are happy to quote their email in full.
Here it is:
“I feel compelled to respond to your article in the August edition of The Bath Magazine, which highlights that Bath, a city with World Heritage Status, is not measuring up to this accolade in any way – other than with the beauty of the Georgian architecture & the history which we are so lucky to have.
For some years, we have felt saddened at witnessing the decline of the city -the rubbish, the dirty pavements, the seagull deposits, the weeds, the potholes, the empty shops, etc. & it is dispiriting that everything you mentioned & more is either being neglected or wilfully ignored by the council, put simply Bath looks grubby & ‘unloved’ & any so-called improvements appear to be perfunctory with little thought for aesthetics & too much focus is made on cars by a council keen to eradicate them from the city.
Cycling & walking are both great options for some people & it would be wonderful if everyone could do this, but we live on hills & many people can’t cycle or walk up & down & the bus service availability is limited in many places, therefore, whether the council like it or not, cars are still a necessity to many. Go to France & they still manage to encourage cars to visit & support their local shops, bring life to their towns & villages & even provide two hours free parking for lunch – how civilised is that!
The photos attached speak for themselves & it will not be difficult for you to guess which ones belong to Bath! The beauty of the French bench is a thing of wonder – the World Heritage version in Milsom street is a disgrace.
The photos that were taken in France, are representative throughout the country of the love & care & pride that the French put into the places they live & when we visit the continent & return to Bath, the difference is glaring & it is impossible not to feel anger & actually rather ashamed. I have even heard people say that we no longer deserve the World Heritage & who knows, it could make the council question why & perhaps step up to the mark.
Thank you for bringing it to people’s attention & I do hope that you get the support that you wish for.”