Things Victorian

Bath might be known around the world for its Georgian architecture but let’s not forget the more recent additions to the cityscape – designed and built in more recent times.

One organisation keen to know more is The Victorian Society which is holding its AGM here at Elim Church this weekend.

Marie Clements, the communications and media manager, tells me:

“The Victorian Society comes to Bath for its AGM weekend on 6, 7, 8 October, which will also serve to highlight the variety and quality of Victorian and Edwardian heritage in and around the city with a weekend of walks and talks led by leading architectural experts of the period.

Many people perceive the World Heritage City of Bath as a city of Georgian perfection, but the Victorian and Edwardian periods have important buildings too.

The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Dine Romero, will welcome Victorian Society Chair Professor Hilary Grainger and the charity’s Director Joe O’Donnell at the Elim Chapel where the AGM will be held. The Mayor will give a talk on ‘The People of Bath, the Beating Heart of the City’.

Victorian Society Director, Joe O’Donnell said: “Bath is a beautiful city, and is well known for its appreciation of heritage. But even in a city like Bath world famous for its Georgian architecture, there is plenty from the Victorian and Edwardian period to appreciate. We hope by holding our AGM here this year that people will be encouraged to take a look around them at the buildings from the period 1847 to 1914. What they find will richly repay the effort”.

The Mayor of Bath, Cllr Dine Romero

Mayor of Bath, Councillor Dine Romero said: “I am delighted to have been asked to meet with the Victorian Society, and to learn more from them about the influence of the Victorians, and to share some of the stories of great Victorians who have had such a marked impact on the city of Bath.”

Following the AGM, the Mayor and Victorian Society members will move to John McKean Brydon’s former Pump Room Ballroom (1897) for a lecture by Dr Michael Forsyth and Professor Marion Harney, authors of the Pevsner Architectural Guide to Bath, followed by dinner amidst the landmark Victorian architecture and décor.

Victoria Art Gallery

On Saturday there are guided walks around the City. These will take in the Municipal Offices and Technical School (1897), the Victoria Art Gallery (1900), Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railway station and viaduct (1840, 1841), George Alexander’s Italianate Bath Savings Bank (1841), Charles Hansom’s St John the Evangelist RC church (1863); Goodridge’s cast-iron Cleveland Bridge (1827) and will include a range of work by visiting architects George Edmund Street, Arthur Blomfield and his nephew Reginald Blomfield, as well as by Bath architects.

Cleveland Bridge

Sunday will take us out of town firstly to the Grade I-listed church of St Peter, Hornblotton (1874), where the Society recently saved the neighbouring Hornblotton House from partial demolition. Followed by a visit to Downside Abbey (1872-1938) and School (1823-1902), the major Roman Catholic complex with contributions by architects Goodridge, Hansom, Thomas Garner, Leonard Stokes, Frederick Waters and Giles Gilbert Scott.”

About the Victorian Society

The Victorian Society is the only charity dedicated to protecting our Victorian and Edwardian built heritage. We help tackle the climate emergency by campaigning for the sensitive reuse of historic buildings to generate much lower carbon emissions than demolition and rebuild.

The Victorian Society has a statutory role in the planning process. Its expert caseworkers are consulted on all applications where there is an element of demolition of listed Victorian and Edwardian buildings.

The Society’s work is largely funded by its members whose benefits include priority booking for events and a free subscription to the Society magazine, The Victorian, and a copy of its Journal. Read more here: