Protect The Min’s historic status says BPT

Protect The Min’s historic status says BPT

Bath Preservation Trust has this week submitted a nomination to Bath and North East Somerset Council for the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (the ‘Min’) to be classed as an ‘asset of community value’ under the Localism Act 2011. 

The Trust has done this because of the Min’s central role in the social history of the Bath, its relationship to the Outstanding Universal Value of the World Heritage Site and its place in serving the community for nearly 300 years.

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Part of GVA’s sales brochure for The Min.

The Trust is not in a position to bid for the Min but wishes to give the best opportunity for any bid to deliver substantial public benefit, substantial public access and the potential for some usage which relates to the health provision which has been based in this historic building.

BPT has participated in discussions which look at co-locating Bath Spa University’s Fashion and Textiles Department, the Fashion Museum and some of the Min’s Bath-related medical collections in the context of a commercial bid also offering hotel and treatment space.


The facade of the original building. An extension was added in 1860.

Caroline Kay, Chief Executive of Bath Preservation Trust, said,

“We recognise that the RUH wishes to sell the Min in order to raise funds for the continuing treatment of sick patients, and of course that is a necessary and laudable aim. However, the listed building, created by John Wood, Ralph Allen and Beau Nash for public benefit, is central to the social and architectural history of the City and deserves to be given the best chance of retaining that spirit of public service.

Registering the Min as an Asset of Community Value would, we hope, encourage any commercial bidder to realise that the building has a cultural importance in the City of Bath which transcends its simple development potential. It would allow more time for a credible bid to come together which took these factors into account and recognised the need for continuing public access.”

Shining a light on history

Shining a light on history

The Roman Baths will host a special evening of archaeological discovery, ‘Bath’s Archaeology by Torchlight’, on Monday 17 July, 5-9pm. The event is part of the national Festival of Archaeology (


Visitors of all ages will be able to explore the Roman Baths museum and see the torchlit Great Bath. There’ll be a range of archaeology-themed activities to try, including having a go at identifying archaeological objects.

A new digital heritage mapping project, Know Your Place West of England (, will also be on display, allowing visitors to see how Bath and North East Somerset has changed over time by comparing historic and modern maps of the area.

Cllr Patrick Anketell-Jones, (Conservative, Lansdown) Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for people to find out about our local archaeology and explore the Roman Baths by torchlight. The event is free for Bath and North East Somerset residents with a Discovery Card.”

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Normal admission charges apply (free for local Discovery Card holders). Roman Baths tickets can be booked online at


Feeling a bit browned off.

Feeling a bit browned off.

Is this the problem with container-grown trees when it comes to extreme heat and dryness? All the young saplings – in their metal troughs along the London Road – appear to be distressed and the leaves turning brown.


Container trees along London Road don’t look too healthy?


Another brown leafed container tree.

The ones in the middle of the road – planted in the soil – are fine and green.

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Taken from moving car but hope you can see trees on pavement are brown and those in middle of road are still green.

Talking of containers. Flower plantings in the city centre – like here in Milsom Street – are in black plastic. Though they apparently help retain water for longer, not everyone likes the look.


Black plastic tubs in Milsom Street help retain water.


Hanging baskets in Milsom Street. Good water retention but what about the colour and material?

Compare hanging baskets down in Abbey Green. What do you think?


Hanging baskets in Abbey Green.


Another Abbey Green variation on the hanging basket theme.

Meanwhile – again in Milsom Street – a section of  Somersetshire Buildings – originally constructed as up-market lodging houses by Thomas Baldwin (1781-3) – continues in its transition from Nat West bank to latest Ivy Brasserie.


The hoarding going up in Milsom Street.


Guess who is coming to town?

Street advertising never looked so prominent. We have to wait until the autumn to see if the food is as tasteful.

A view of the Crescent

A view of the Crescent

Would Bath’s iconic Royal Crescent have made a good Council House? Can you still see the spot where a wartime bomb made a big crater on its lawn?  Or appreciate why one local painter calls its grassy front garden Bath’s beach?


Detail from Peter Brown’s 20-16 study of the Crescent lawn entitled ‘The Beach.’

Just some of the questions that may come to mind if you go and see ‘Exhibition: A View of the Crescent – Celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Bath’s Landmark Building’ which opens at No 1 Royal Crescent on Saturday, June 25th until November 19th.


illustrations showing how the Royal Crescent could have been transformed into Council Offices.

It explores what the Royal Crescent means to people who enjoy, admire and respond to the beauty of its setting, and how prominent artists have portrayed this famous building over the years through paintings, prints, photographs and textiles.


Philip Bouchard’s painting of the Royal Crescent.

To stage it, Bath Preservation Trust has delved into its own archives – and that of Bath Record Office – as well as involving the Victoria Art Gallery and many well-known locally-based artists.

As one of its organisers, Beatrice Goddard, explains:

At No. 1 Royal Crescent from 24 June to 19 November.

Free with normal admission to the museum: Adult £10, Child £4, Family £22. Concessions.



The threads of life.

The threads of life.

How do you follow your most successful exhibition in years? Why – with something completely different of course.

Bath’s Holburne Museum recently wowed visitors with a display of Flemish talent which brought together a variety of work across the whole Bruegel family dynasty – for the first time in this country.


Now be prepared to move away from the 16th century and come right up to date – but with an art form that would have graced the walls of Henry the Eight’s Hampton Court Palace.


We’re talking tapestry – a form of textile art – but not as we normally think about it. The new exhibition – Tapestry: Here and Now – makes it clear we are not talking about Baronial walls but an ambitious survey of contemporary tapestry from a range of international artists – engaging with political, aesthetic and personal issues of contemporary relevance. As Catrin Jones, the Museum’s Curator of Decorative Arts, explains.

The exhibition runs from Friday, June 23rd through to October 1st. I have had a sneak preview of the works on display and must say they are both colourful and provocative.


Saori Sakai, detail of ‘Let’s Pretend.’


They exhibit both vision and dedication and use an ancient skill – and its materials – to produce pictorial representations of contemporary issues – like war, the environment, identity and memory. Read them anyway you will. I am sure you will be impressed.

Tonje Bloom and Jolly Future, detail. copy

Tonje Hodahl Sorli, detail of ‘Bloom, And Jolly Future’.

What l found relevant is how their quite striking vibrancy gives us some idea of the original colours of more ancient works which – like memory itself – fades over the years.

Ironically, Henry the Eighth’s 28-foot long tapestry at Hampton Court has been ‘virtually restored’ using coloured light beams.



Tapestry: Here & Now

The Holburne Museum

23 June – 1 October 2017

£10 | £9 concession | £5 Art Fund | Free to all Museum Members and under 16s

A touring exhibition from The National Centre for Craft & Design

The Holburne Museum, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DB
Open daily, free admission 10am – 5pm (11am – 5pm Sundays and Bank Holidays)
T: 01225 388569 | E: |

Bath trams to return?

Bath trams to return?

Bath’s trams could be on the way back – at least in a modern form.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is to undertake a preliminary study looking at the feasibility and potential of introducing some form of light rail ‘tram’ system in Bath.


A new light rail tram system wouldn’t look like this though. © Wikkipedia


The decision to carry out the study comes in response to suggestions from the public, made over the past year, for a review to take place looking at the possible use of trams or a light rail system in the city.

Improving the area’s transport network is one of the Council’s top priorities, and whilst the introduction of a tram system does not currently form part of the Council’s formally adopted Transport Strategy, the authority has said it keeps an open mind to suggestions to improve transport that could be taken forward in future.

As a result, this short scoping study will look at the feasibility of using a light rail system as a sustainable form of transport in the city.

Cllr Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The need to improve transport and tackle congestion is one of the biggest issues we face in Bath, and we are always keen to look at ideas and solutions that could form part of our wider transport strategy in the years ahead.

“The idea of introducing some sort of a light-rail system in Bath has clearly caught the imagination of a number of people in the city and we feel this idea warrants further investigation.  We have therefore agreed to help fund a short preliminary study looking at the feasibility of some form of light-rail system in Bath. It’s important to stress that this is a very high-level and early-stage study looking at general issues and opportunities of a tram system, but it is an important first step towards looking at this idea more seriously.”

Cllr Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip) Leader of the Council said: “Bath is a successful, thriving city with great opportunities in the years ahead.  But with success also comes challenges, not least the need to provide new ways for people to travel into and around the city. It’s therefore important that we plan for the future and look at a range of solutions to our area’s transport challenges.

“This short study will help to understand the potential for a light rail system and help us to evaluate whether such a scheme could merit further investigation as part of our wider transport strategy in the years ahead.”

The feasibility study will be completed within this financial year.


Just for the record

Just for the record

B&NES has combined its local studies and archives collections in a single location at  Bath Record Office in the city’s Guildhall.

Previously, the collections were located separately at Bath Central Library and within the Guildhall. The combined service is now called Archives & Local Studies, Bath & North East Somerset, to reflect the wider local history resources that are available.

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Principal Archivist, Colin Johnston pictured with a service user. If anyone recognises the lady please let me know so l can name her!

As far back as 2014, the Council made the decision to house the services together at Bath Record Office. Bringing together local studies and archive materials under one roof has been an aspiration long-held by staff and those who regularly use the service, such as local people, history researchers and academics. As early as 2002, a survey of those using the services showed strong support for the idea.

Local history books which can be borrowed by members of the public will remain in Bath’s central library and local branch libraries. This move is separate to the proposals to combine libraries in central Bath and Midsomer Norton with One Stop Shops.

Cllr Martin Veal (Conservative, Bathavon North), Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “This is good news for residents, local historians and researchers because it brings the Local Studies collections, which include local history reference books, manuscripts, maps, photographs and other historic items under the same roof as the Council’s archives at the internationally Designated Bath Record Office. Having these resources in the same place means people will no longer need to visit different sites to get the information they need.

“In addition, experienced, trained Archivists along with the Local Studies Librarian from Bath Central Library can be on hand to quickly locate relevant materials and assist in research across the whole collection.”

The project includes a refurbishment of the Record Office research rooms to create additional public space where people will be able to browse local history reference books, conduct searches and study archive materials. WiFi is now available in the research rooms for the first time, and additional PCs, desks and book shelving have been provided. Much-needed damp proofing and updating fixtures and fittings has also taken place to ensure that the whole space is bright, clean and comfortable.

To find out more about the collections, visit  or